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PICTURES: US sends first wave of 750 paratroopers to the Middle East in response to attack on embassy

PICTURES: US sends first wave of 750 paratroopers to the Middle East in response to attack on embassy

The first wave of hundreds of U.S. Army paratroopers from a rapid reaction force has deployed to Kuwait in response to the assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by pro-Iran militiamen, with thousands of more soldiers on alert for deployment.

The decision is in response to the violent assault on the US embassy in Baghdad by a mob of 6,000 pro-Iran militiamen. The attack was repelled by the rapid reaction force of 100 Marines and the militiamen withdrew from the area.

In an orchestrated assault, hundreds of militiamen and their supporters broke into the embassy compound, destroying a reception area, smashing windows and spraying graffiti on walls to protest U.S. airstrikes.

IMAGES BELOW.

At Fort Bragg on Wednesday in North Carolina, paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division boarded C-17 Globemaster aircraft transports bound for Kuwait.

The official account for the 82nd Airborne, America’s Division tweeted on Wednesday: ‘Early this morning more than 650 All American Paratroopers and equipment began their deployment to the @CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) area of operations.

‘This is why we exist. Your @Strike_Hold (1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division) Paratroopers have trained and prepared for events like these. @OIRSpox (spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve), they are on the way.’

Iran-backed militiamen withdrew from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday after two days of clashes with American security forces, but there are fears U.S.-Iran tensions remain high and could spill over into further violence.

‘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,’ Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said in a statement.

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

‘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,’ he continued.

On Tuesday, some 6,000 pro-Iran Shiite militia fighters stormed U.S. embassy in Baghdad, set walls ablaze and chanted ‘Death to America!’ in a violent retaliation for American air strikes. There were no reports of American casualties, and the attack was repelled after 100 Marines rapidly reinforced the compound.

The attack on the embassy also prompted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay a European and Central Asian trip.

Pompeo called the attack an act of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ in an interview with CBS News, and President Donald Trump vowed that the Iranian government will be held ‘fully responsible’ for the attack.

Pompeo said in a statement that the attack was ‘orchestrated by terrorists’ and ‘abetted by Iranian proxies’, tweeting pictures that he said showed US-designated terrorists with Iranian ties outside the embassy.

PICTURES:

The first contingent of a paratroop infantry battalion from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division bound for Kuwait receive a briefing as they prepare to leave Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday

The first contingent of a paratroop infantry battalion from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division bound for Kuwait receive a briefing as they prepare to leave Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force wait to board their C-17 transport aircraft to leave Fort Bragg

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force wait to board their C-17 transport aircraft to leave Fort Bragg

Paratroopers help one another prepare for their deployment aboard a C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg

Paratroopers help one another prepare for their deployment aboard a C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg

Supporters and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force gather during a demonstration outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday. They marched unimpeded through the checkpoints of the usually high-security Green Zone to the embassy gates, where they broke through a reception area, chanting "Death to America" and scribbling pro-Iran graffiti on the walls

Supporters and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force gather during a demonstration outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday. They marched unimpeded through the checkpoints of the usually high-security Green Zone to the embassy gates, where they broke through a reception area, chanting ‘Death to America’ and scribbling pro-Iran graffiti on the walls

A paratrooper takes a moment to reflect before deploying as part of an immediate reaction force from Fort Bragg

A paratrooper takes a moment to reflect before deploying as part of an immediate reaction force from Fort Bragg

A paratrooper puts on her helmet shortly before boarding her C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg, North Carolina

A paratrooper puts on her helmet shortly before boarding her C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Paratroopers secure their gear and weapons as they prepare to deploy from Fort Bragg on Wednesday

Paratroopers secure their gear and weapons as they prepare to deploy from Fort Bragg on Wednesday

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare to board a C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare to board a C-17 transport aircraft leaving Fort Bragg

A member of the immediate reaction force reflects before the deployment to Kuwait as US-Iran tensions rise

A member of the immediate reaction force reflects before the deployment to Kuwait as US-Iran tensions rise

Supporters of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force hold placards depicting trampled US symbols reading in Arabic "Welcome" during a protest outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday

Supporters of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force hold placards depicting trampled US symbols reading in Arabic ‘Welcome’ during a protest outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday.

Army paratroopers march out to their C-17 transport aircraft as they leave Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday

Army paratroopers march out to their C-17 transport aircraft as they leave Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday

Paratroopers deploy to Kuwait from Pope Army Airfield near Fort Bragg in North Carolina on January 1, 2020

Paratroopers deploy to Kuwait from Pope Army Airfield near Fort Bragg in North Carolina on January 1, 2020

The soldiers were activated and deployed to the Middle East in response to recent events in Iraq

The soldiers were activated and deployed to the Middle East in response to recent events in Iraq

Airmen assigned to 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group conducting loading operations on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

Airmen assigned to 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group conducting loading operations on C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

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

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

U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deploy from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina on January 1, 2020

U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deployed from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina on January 1, 2020

Iran-backed militiamen withdrew from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday after two days of clashes

Iran-backed militiamen withdrew from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday after two days of clashes.

President Donald Trump vowed that the Iranian government will be held 'fully responsible' for the attack

President Donald Trump vowed that the Iranian government will be held ‘fully responsible’ for the attack

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, line up to board their C-17 transport aircraft as they leave Fort Bragg

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, line up to board their C-17 transport aircraft as they leave Fort Bragg

Paratroopers board a C-17 Globemaster III at Pope Air Field on a deployment to Kuwait on Wednesday

Paratroopers board a C-17 Globemaster III at Pope Air Field on a deployment to Kuwait on Wednesday

The first wave of hundreds of U.S. Army paratroopers from a rapid reaction force has deployed to Kuwait

The first wave of hundreds of U.S. Army paratroopers from a rapid reaction force has deployed to Kuwait.