US deploying additional troops in Iraq

Washington DC: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States will send additional forces to support American personnel in Baghdad after Tuesday’s attack on US Embassy in Iraq.

“US has taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats serving in Iraq,” said Esper, as quoted by CNN.

Citing international responsibilities, Esper also called on Iraqi government to assist in the protection of American soldiers in Iraq.

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The US has also sent two Apache helicopters to fly over the embassy in a show of force, CNN reported quoting US official as saying. An additional military unit based in the United States has also been put on standby to deploy if the situation in Baghdad significantly deteriorates.

The move comes amid fallout over US airstrikes against five facilities the Pentagon says are tied to an Iranian-backed militia blamed for a series of attacks on joint US-Iraq military facilities housing American forces.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday blamed Iran for the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad and said that the Islamic Republic will have to pay a big price if any American is killed.

Moreover, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi has also urged protesters to end the violent siege of the American embassy in Baghdad and stressed that “aggression against embassies was an act that security forces would not tolerate.”

Previously, dozens of protesters broke into the US embassy compound in Baghdad, smashed windows, set fire to outbuildings and overturned vehicles outside the US Embassy.

This development came after the US conducted strikes at five facilities linked to Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Iraq and Syria.
The US ambassador to Iraq and other staff were evacuated from the embassy.

Earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the embassy shortly after funerals were held for fighters of Kataib Hezbollah militia killed in Sunday night strikes that the Pentagon launched in response on a rocket attack on a Kirkuk base. 

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