Defense

US readies 4,000 troops for deployment to Middle East amid Baghdad unrest: report

As many as 4,000 U.S. troops are reportedly on standby for possible deployment to Kuwait after demonstrators, including members of an Iranian-backed militia, breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad.

Fox News reported Tuesday that the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division has been told to plan for possible deployment to Kuwait in the coming days if the protests in Iraq worsen. Hundreds of paratroopers are already en route to the region, according to Fox.

“Approximately 750 #Soldiers will deploy to the region immediately & additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days. 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,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote Tuesday in a tweet.

“The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world,” Esper added.

Iranian-backed forces reportedly organized protests and marches on the U.S. Embassy after the U.S. carried out airstrikes Sunday against Kata’ib Hezbollah that were said to have killed at least 25 militia fighters. Those strikes came after the Trump administration blamed the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia for a Friday attack that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded four U.S. service members.

Five thousand U.S. troops are already stationed in Iraq assisting the country’s security forces. U.S. forces in the region number around 60,000 troops.

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