The Pentagon has directed at least 100 Marines to reinforce the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday following violent protests that have sent U.S. diplomats into hiding.
Following a State Department request for protection at the embassy, the Marines were approved by Iraqi Security Forces and deployed via Chinook helicopters with two Apache attack helicopters providing air support, U.S. Central Command spokesman Mike Lawhorn said.
The Marines are reportedly from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, a ground force deployed to the Middle East that specializes in crisis response, U.S. officials added.
Unconfirmed videos on social media show what appears to be Chinooks and Apaches flying over the embassy.
#BREAKING: #US Army Aviation UH-60M & CH-47F evacuated several personnel of #US embassy in #Baghdad. An AH-64E Guardian attack helicopter is also flying over the embassy ready to attack #IRGC backed Kataib Hezbollah if they attack the marines who protect the embassy from inside pic.twitter.com/U1BpWUilkD— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) December 31, 2019