FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (R) passes aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush, during a transit of the Strait of Bab el Mandeb in this handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy. REUTERS./

 – The United States has decided to extend the deployment of the George H.W. Bush carrier strike group to provide options to policymakers after last week’s deadly attacks in Syria by Iran-backed forces, U.S. military officials said on Friday.

The decision likely means the Bush strike group and its more than 5,000 U.S. forces, which are now in the European Command operational area, will not be returning to home port in the United States on schedule.

U.S. Central Command spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino confirmed the carrier’s extension.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali. Editing by Chris Reese)

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