Fort Bragg soldiers being deployed in wake of attack on US Embassy in Iraq

Fort Bragg soldiers being deployed in wake of attack on US Embassy in Iraq
U.S. soldiers fire tear gas towards protesters who broke into the U.S. embassy compound, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Source: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — Soldiers from Fort Bragg’s legendary 82nd Airborne Brigade are being deployed immediately, officials said.

An infantry battalion is being deployed the same day a U.S Embassy in Iraq was attacked by Iran-supported militiamen, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper said in a statement.

While the rest of the country is celebrating the new year, Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are deploying to Iraq. Please keep them and all of our Service members in your prayers.

Posted by Fort Bragg, N.C. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Esper said the battalion was being deployed “to the U.S. Central Command area.” He did not specify their destination, but a U.S. official familiar with the decision said they will go to Kuwait.

Esper said additional soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s quick-deployment brigade, known officially as its Immediate Response Force, are prepared to deploy over the next several days. The U.S. official, who provided unreleased details on condition of anonymity, said the full brigade of about 4,000 soldiers may deploy.

Here is the Statement from Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper

“At the direction of the Commander in Chief, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq.

Approximately 750 soldiers will deploy to the region immediately, and additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days.

This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”

The attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-supported militiamen Tuesday is a stark demonstration that Iran can still strike at American interests.

Trump said Iran would be held “fully responsible” for the attack.

“They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!” Trump tweeted later in the afternoon. He also thanked top Iraqi government leaders for their “rapid response upon request.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.