March 2, 2011 / 7:23 PM / 8 years ago

U.S. assault ships clear Suez, enter Mediterranean

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. amphibious assault ships have reached the Mediterranean Sea, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, as Washington intensifies pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to end his four-decade rule.

The USS Ponce and the USS Kearsarge, assault ships that typically carry Marines, cleared the Suez Canal from the Red Sea and entered the Mediterranean, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The United States also has an aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, in the Red Sea but military officials have not said whether it will be sent to the Mediterranean.

The Obama administration has said all options are on the table to deal with the Libya crisis but the Pentagon may be reluctant to launch any new military action as it grapples with the costs of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Sandra Maler

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