US deploying 3,000 more troops to Middle East

Deployment comes after Trump ordered killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Jan. 3, 2020

The United States is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East from the 82nd Airborne Division as a precaution amid rising threats to American forces in the region, US officials have said. The move comes after US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed by US forces in an air raid at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) was also killed. Iran has threatened retaliation.

US officials have defended the move, saying Iran was planning imminent action that threatened American citizens. He has not elaborated on the details of any plan.

The additional troops would be joining the roughly 750 forces that were sent to Kuwait earlier this week, according to officials, speaking to news agencies on the condition of anonymity. Those troops were deployed after protesters stormed the US embassy compound in Iraq.

US officials told Reuters News Agency earlier this week that thousands of additional troops could be sent to the region and had been told to prepare to deploy.