MarketDeal24.Com – Protesters angered over U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and set ablaze a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, setting off a battle with guards and prompting the United States to deploy additional troops to the Middle East.
The protests, led by Iran-supported militias, posed a new foreign policy blow for U.S. President Donald Trump, who faces re-election in 2020. He threatened to retaliate against Iran.
The US State Department said diplomatic personnel inside were safe and there were no plans to evacuate them.
Embassy guards used stun grenades and tear gas to repel protesters, who stormed and burned the security post at the entrance but did not breach the security of the main compound.
The Pentagon announced that in addition to Marines sent to protect embassy staffs, about 750 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were being deployed to the Middle East and that additional troops were prepared to be deployed 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,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of not to be named, mentioned that the 750 troops would initially be stationed out of Kuwait. The officials said that as many as 4,000 troops could be deployed to the region in the coming days if the ground reality demands.
More than 5,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq assisting local forces.