Hundreds of the elite paratroopers were deployed from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, to join forces already in place, protecting the US Embassy, amidst increased threats to the facility in Iraq.
This came after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said about 750 soldiers were already deployed in the aftermath of the attack, which reportedly left areas of the compound burned and vandalized. Analysts say the militants have vowed further acts of revenge against the U.S. in retaliation for airstrikes that killed at least two dozen Iran-backed fighters in Iraq. More than 600 paratroopers could be seen leaving Ft. Bragg in response to those escalating threats.
The troops are from the highly decorated “rapid response” unit, The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. The alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers, known as the DRB — the Deployment Ready Brigade – had been told to pack their bags for a possible deployment in the days ahead after hundreds of Iranian-backed militiamen tried to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad Dec. 31.
According to Pentagon officials hundreds of the paratroopers already have left their base in Fort Bragg, N.C., to fly overseas in Air Force C-17 cargo planes. The Department of Defense has kept an alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne for crisis response like this, and say that the entire brigade could be deployed in as little as 96 hours.
There are roughly 5,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Iraq now, among the roughly 60,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to the region. According to the Pentagon, 14,000 have been added since May as the threat from Iran increased.
Meanwhile, Iran has claimed it is not afraid to go to war with the U.S.
Iranian military leaders recently stated they are not leading the country to war with the U.S., however, they are not shying away from that possibility.
Officials also said they are “closely monitoring” Washington and advised the U.S. to “speak correctly with the Iranian nation.” This comes after President Trump threatened Iran Tuesday, and accused the country of coordinating the violent attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.