US Troops Deploy After Attack on US Embassy in Baghdad
U.S. troops from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, began to deploy to the Middle East, Wednesday, January 1, amid a rise in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, especially after Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-supported militiamen.
READ MORE: Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that “in response to recent events” in Iraq, and at President Donald Trump’s direction, he authorized the immediate deployment of an infantry battalion of about 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to the Middle East.
A U.S. official familiar with the decision said the soldiers will go to Kuwait. The troops, who will deploy immediately, are in addition to 14,000 U.S. troops who have deployed to the Persian Gulf region since May in response to concerns about Iranian aggression, including its alleged sabotage of commercial shipping in the gulf.
Tuesday’s breach of the embassy compound in Baghdad, which caused no known U.S. casualties or evacuations, revealed growing strains between Washington and Baghdad, raising questions about the future of the U.S. military mission there. The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq, mainly to train Iraqi forces and help them combat Islamic State extremists.
Iranian-backed paramilitary groups protesting U.S. airstrikes in Iraq withdrew from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Wednesday after a second day of protests, even as Tehran and Washington traded threats.
Earlier, U.S. security personnel had fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of demonstrators after they hurled rocks at the building, and tried to set fire to its walls and security booths at the compound’s main entrance. (VOA/AP)