The United States will be sending approximately 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East after thousands of people stormed the compound of the US Embassy in Baghdad, three US defense officials and one military official confirmed to NBC News on Friday.
The deployment of additional soldiers from a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, comes after thousands of people, most of them affiliated with the Iran-backed Shiite militia group Kataib Hezbollah, descended on the embassy compound Tuesday.
The soldiers will join roughly 650 others already deployed to the region and stay there for some 60 days, the officials told NBC News. The immediate-response-force soldiers will be spread throughout the region, with some in Iraq and others in Kuwait.
While the news of the deployment came hours after an American air strike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, US defense officials said the deployments were not in response to the strike.
The air strike which killed Soleimani followed days of tensions in Iraq, which began on Sunday, when the US launched air strikes against the Kataib Hezbollah militia in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a Friday rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.
On Tuesday, Iraqi militants laid siege to the US Embassy in Baghdad, setting fires and smashing security cameras before forcing their way into the compound.
US President Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the violent protest. Iran rejected the allegations.
Following the attack on the embassy, the Pentagon announced that around 750 more troops would be sent to the Middle East immediately.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)