Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Pentagon sends Marines to protect US embassy in Baghdad

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US Marines landed at the US embassy compound penetrated by militias and their supporters in Baghdad on Tuesday, according to a recent US Department of Defense news release.

The Pentagon already sent some 100 Marines to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to bolster security after Iraqi Shiite protesters enraged by American airstrikes on Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria breached the compound and announced deployment more troops for protecting embassy compound.

A US official said infantry from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines were shuttled early Tuesday afternoon from Kuwait to the embassy in Baghdad. The Marines were in Kuwait assigned the Corps’ crisis response team for the US Central Command area. The unit is specially trained to quickly respond to issues that arise within that region, which includes the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Pentagon imagery released Tuesday shows the Marines loading their rifles and loading up to move into Iraq via MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the US has taken actions to “ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats” and to “ensure our right of self-defence. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the Embassy.”

The extra force will consist of a small additional detachment of Marine security guards, two defence officials in Washington said. They would be from the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, which is trained specifically to provide security at U.S. diplomatic missions. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be identified.

President Donald Trump warned that Iran “would be held fully responsible” after the US Embassy in Baghdad was stormed by protesters on Tuesday, before ordering that 750 US soldiers would be sent to the Middle East with 3,000 more preparing for deployment in the next few days.

Trump warned Iran that it would pay a “big price” for “lives lost, or damage incurred” during the protests, which followed deadly US airstrikes this week that killed 25 fighters from an Iran-backed Shiite militia in Iraq.

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