The United States announced on Tuesday that it would deploy additional troops in the Middle-East, after Iraqi protesters attacked its embassy in Iraqi capital Baghdad. The attack came after US airstrikes in Iraq, which killed at least 25 pro-Iranian paramilitary fighters. Protesters stormed the embassy compound, set the front wall on fire and chanted "Death to America" slogans.
US announcement on additional troops' deployment
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a statement said that the US would deploy 750 additional troops immediately and would deploy additional forces in the next couple of days. This comes as a response to increased threat to American interests and personnel in the region, such as that witnessed in Baghdad on Tuesday.
The US had already flown a rapid response team of Marines into Baghdad to reinforce its embassy after the attack Tuesday, AFP reported. Prior to Esper's announcement, a U.S. official told AFP that US had already deployed hundreds of troops in Kuwait, who would most likely be sent to neighboring Iraq.
The deployment comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, whom US has blamed for Tuesday's attack on its embassy in Baghdad.
Iraqi protesters attack US embassy
Hundreds of Iraqi protesters, whom US termed as pro-Iranian, stormed the American embassy in Baghdad, set the front wall on fire, chanted "Death to America!", demanded ouster of US troops and voiced loyalty to Qasem Soleimani, a powerful Iranian general of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the attack was "orchestrated by terrorists", one of whom he named as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Muhandis is second-in-command of the Teheran-backed Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary group which includes Kataeb Hezbollah, the group that was targeted in the US air strikes.
Secretary Pompeo further asserted that the "attack against the US Embassy should not be confused with the legitimate efforts of the Iraqi protesters who have been in the streets since October working for the people of Iraq to end the corruption exported there by the Iranian regime".
Earlier, US President Donald Trump had blamed Iran for the embassy attack. "They will pay a very BIG PRICE," the US President warned.
US airstrikes kill 25 Kateeb Hezbollah fighters
On Sunday, US jet fighters struck five Kateab Hezbollah outposts in Iraq and Syria, that killed at least 25 fighters. The response came after a series of rocket attacks struck US interests in the region, which it blamed on Iranian backed Kateeb Hezbollah.
After US blamed the Tuesday's embassy attack on Iran, its foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement: "The surprising audacity of American officials is so much that after killing at least 25... and violating the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, that now... they attribute the Iraqi people's protest against their cruel acts to the Islamic Republic of Iran".