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U.S. to deploy thousands of troops to Middle East following Soleimani strike

Troops boarding a plane.
Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division were activated and deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq. Photo: CAPT. ROBYN HAAKE/US ARMY/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will deploy at least 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East amid fallout from an airstrike on Thursday evening that killed the leader of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The news comes hours after the Pentagon confirmed Soleimani had been killed. But defense officials told NBC News the deployment is not in response to the strike, but to an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by protesters and militia fighters earlier this week.

  • The additional soldiers will join the nearly 750 troops deployed from the same unit, the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division, earlier this week following the embassy attack.
  • The 82nd Airborne was ordered to prepare for deployment if tensions escalated in the region, CNN notes.

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