The United States is set to deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East, a U.S. defense official told CNN. The news was also recently confirmed by an official in the Pentagon. The move comes hours after President Trump ordered an airstrike that claimed the life of Major General Quassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force in Iran.
The airstrike was centered on Baghdad and sought to retaliate against unrest in the region that claimed the life of an American contractor. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Trump blamed much of the turmoil in the region on Soleimani as the major general sought to increase Iran's power in the rest of the Middle East. Soleimani's former unit, the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was focused on unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations.
It is estimated that around 3,350 troops will be deployed from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division. They will be joining the 750 remaining troops of their brigade, who were sent to the area days earlier in response to the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on December 31 by Iraqi protestors. In addition to the 82nd Airborne, a contingent of U.S. Marines previously in Kuwait have been sent to the Iraqi capital as well.
The troops had previously been warned that there was a strong possibility they could be deployed, as tensions mounted in the region.
The task of the new deployment is two-fold. Part of their duty will be to thwart any plans made by Soleimani prior to his death, while the other will be to forestall any counterattacks the U.S. might be facing in the aftermath of the drone strike.
U.S. intelligence claimed that the major general had planned specific attacks on American interests and people and was in Baghdad to coordinate a number of assaults on American targets.
In response to his death, the Iranian government has already warned that it will retaliate with "harsh revenge," spurring social media into a frenzy about the possibility of World War III.
Forces in the region have also been warned about the additional dangers. Experts have claimed that the strike could lead to an increase in violence against Americans and the force protection levels in the Central Command area of operations have been increased from Bravo to Charlie over the past 24 hours.
The change in levels occurs "when a terrorist or hostile act incident occurs within the commander's area of interest or intelligence is received indicating a hostile act, some form of terrorist action or targeting DoD elements, personnel, or facilities."
While most of the U.S.'s action in the region has been part of a coalition of forces, foreign leaders have been distancing themselves from this particular American action, as reported by The Inquisitr.