Pentagon: U.S. to Deploy 750 Troops After Embassy Attack in Iraq

Iraq rocket attack kills US contractor, wounds military personnel
AFP

Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday evening that he has approved the deployment of 750 U.S. soldiers to the Middle East following an attack by pro-Iran forces on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

Esper wrote in a trio of tweets that the troops will be deployed “immediately,” and additional forces are prepared to follow if needed.

“At the direction of the Commander in Chief @POTUS, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the @82ndABNDiv to the @CENTCOM area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq,” Esper tweeted.

“Approximately 750 #Soldiers will deploy to the region immediately & additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days,” he added. “This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”

Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump said Iran will face consequences after protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Trump blamed the protests on Iran in a Twitter post, saying it was “orchestrating” them and calling on Iraq to “use its forces” to protect the embassy.

“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred at any of our facilities,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.”

An embassy spokesman told CNN the embassy personnel were secure following an assault by hundreds of protesters who were angered by a series of deadly American airstrikes carried out Sunday against an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group in Iraq and Syria.

Protesters entered the heavily fortified “Green Zone” near the compound after apparently being granted access by Iraqi security forces and gathered at the walls of the embassy itself to denounce the U.S. airstrikes against the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia.

Shortly after the attack, President Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the protest and pledged to “strongly responded.”

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!” he tweeted.

The UPI contributed to this report. 

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