Just days after President Donald Trump authorized a U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian military commander, the Pentagon continues to deploy U.S. troops to the region to bolster security. On Sunday, the U.S. announced that a contingent of special operations troops will join the growing American military presence.
According to Politico, the latest deployment consists of a task force of U.S. special operations troops, including Army Rangers. An official who asked to remain anonymous indicated that the Rangers were from the 75th Ranger Regiment, which is an elite, light infantry special operations force out of Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Announcement of the deployment comes on the heels of a 4,000-strong, brigade-level deployment to nearby Kuwait of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, the Army's famed airborne infantry unit.
As Politico reported, the number of Rangers in the special operations task force was not revealed, presumably for operational security reasons, but Ranger elements are typically between 150 and 200 soldiers.
Though much smaller than a brigade of troops, the specialized soldiers add a significant level of extra offensive power to any deployment, given their highly-specialized and rigorous military training.
Army Rangers specialize in capturing or killing enemy leaders and have already established experience in the region, having previously been a part of a secretive group known as "Task Force 17," which during the Iraq war was responsible for hunting Iranian-backed militias, including the same militia responsible for taking part in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad last week.
There was no indication of where the Rangers and the special operations task force would be deployed to, though it's reasonable to believe they would be somewhat close to areas of concern in Iraq or other strategic locations that could see retaliatory strikes from Iran in the coming days and weeks.
Though he was highly criticized for the suggestion, Trump made clear on Sunday that he's more than willing to include strikes on Iranian cultural sites, should Iran attack any U.S. assets or personnel in the near future.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Trump defended his reasoning to reporters on Sunday.
"They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people, they're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural sites. It doesn't work that way," the president said.
Though its existence wasn't confirmed by military officials, Trump claimed that he possesses a list of 52 cultural sites in Iran that the United States might strike, which was in response to a previous threat by an Iranian military commander who claimed his country had already chosen 35 American targets to strike in the wake of Soleimani's death.