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Trump Deploys More Troops To Mideast After Embassy Attack
US President Donald Trump speaks at the signing ceremony for S.1709, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 on December 20, 2019 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. President Trump is headed to Florida for the Holidays after a historic impeachment vote on the house floor this week. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

In response to hundreds of supporters of an Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militia storming the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday —breaking through the main entrance and setting fire to the reception area amid shouts of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” — President Trump has deployed 750 U.S. soldiers to the Middle East, with some 3,000 additional troops preparing to deploy soon if necessary.

In a press statement released Tuesday night, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that he has authorized “the immediate deployment of the infantry battalion from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,” The Associated Press reports.

“Additional soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s quick-deployment brigade, known officially as its Immediate Response Force, were prepared to deploy,” AP reports, noting that the full brigade consists of around 4,000 soldiers.

“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,” said Esper.

While Esper did not specify the infantry battalion’s destination, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP the troops are being sent to Kuwait.

The deployment follows strong words from Trump, who has laid the ultimate blame for the embassy attack on Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” Trump tweeted Tuesday in reference to a recent attack by the Iran-backed militia Kataeb Hezbollah (post below).  “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!”

The attack by the Iran-backed militia and its supporters was a retaliation for the U.S. military’s airstrikes Sunday, which killed some 25 of the group’s fighters. The airstrikes were ordered in response to an attack by the militia on an Iraqi military base last week that resulted in the death of an American contractor.

In a statement issued Sunday, the U.S. Department of Defense provided details about the “precision defensive strikes” against the militia, which the U.S. notes has “a strong linkage” with Iran’s Quds Force, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

“In response to repeated Kata’ib Hizbollah (KH) attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, U.S. forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces,” the Defense Department said. “The five targets include three KH locations in Iraq and two in Syria. These locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on OIR coalition forces.”

In an update on the situation at the embassy Tuesday, Trump wrote: “The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site.”

“Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” he continued. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”

UPDATE: Attackers Of U.S. Embassy In Baghdad Withdraw

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