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US Sending Additional Forces To Protect Embassy In Baghdad

U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command deploy to Iraq to bolster security at the US Embassy and ensure the safety of American citizens, Dec. 31, 2019.

The United States has announced it is dispatching additional forces to protest the U.S. embassy in Baghdad after members and supporters of an Iran-backed militia group attacked the diplomatic compound and breached its outer wall.

In a video released by the U.S. military Apache helicopters are seen circling above the compound in early evening hours.

The US State Department announced that "U.S. personnel are secure and there has been no breach. There are no plans to evacuate Embassy Baghdad," the statement added. Defense Secretary Mark Esper called on the government of Iraq to "fulfil its international responsibilities" to protect U.S. citizens in the country.

Iraqi leaders assured U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday that they took their responsibility for U.S. personnel seriously and would guarantee their safety, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. But it is still not clear how hundreds of protesters were able to cross into the protected Green Zone, when Iraqi anti-government protesters have been prevented for months to enter the area.

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman dismissed President Donald Trump’s statement that Iran has “orchestrated” the attack on the embassy, calling it an “audacity of American officials”. The statement rejected US charges against Iran, warned against any "reckless and wrong reaction" and urged the White House to "reconsider its destructive policies in the region".

Based on reporting by DPA, AFP