The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade has been issued orders to deploy rapidly to Kuwait following an attack on the American embassy in Baghdad by a pro-Iranian mob.
At least 750 paratroopers are already making their way to the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed in a statement on Tuesday, saying additional forces 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,’ said Esper.
A total of 4,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s Deployment Ready Brigade have been put on notice for imminent deployment in the next 96 hours, three U.S. defense officials told Fox News.
The snap deployment comes amid rapidly rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. and a series of violent tit-for-tat escalations between the two countries.
On Tuesday, some 6,000 pro-Iran Shiite militia fighters stormed U.S. embassy in Baghdad, set walls ablaze and chanted ‘Death to America!’ in a violent retaliation for American air strikes. There were no reports of American casualties, and the attack was repelled after 100 Marines rapidly reinforced the compound.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attack an act of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ in an interview with CBS News, and President Donald Trump vowed that the Iranian government will be held ‘fully responsible’ for the attack.
Pompeo said in a statement that the attack was ‘orchestrated by terrorists’ and ‘abetted by Iranian proxies’, tweeting pictures that he said showed US-designated terrorists with Iranian ties outside the embassy.