January 1, 2020 / 1:00 AM / 2 months ago

U.S. deploying 750 soldiers after protest at U.S. Embassy in Iraq -Pentagon chief

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is immediately deploying about 750 soldiers to the Middle East in response to the violent protests at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday.

Esper said in a statement he had authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division. Apart from the immediate deployment, additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days, he said.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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