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U.S. sending 3,000 more troops to Middle East as reinforcements

1/3 12:00 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast in the volatile aftermath of the killing of an Iranian general in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

Defense officials said the troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

They are in addition to about 700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who deployed to Kuwait earlier this week after the storming of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters.

The reinforcements took shape as Trump gave his first comments on the strike.

He said he ordered the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani because he was "plotting to kill" many Americans.

Iran has vowed "harsh retaliation" in response to the airstrike.

Gen. Soleimani was the architect of Iran's interventions across the Middle East and the head of Iran's elite Quds Force.

His killing marks a major escalation in the standoff between Washington and Iran.

Iran's supreme leader warned that a "harsh retaliation is waiting" for the U.S. The killing and Iran's response could ignite a region-wide conflict.

The U.S. ordered its citizens to leave Iraq and closed the embassy in Baghdad.

UPDATE: 1/2 9:14 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon says US military has killed Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at direction of President Trump. "At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization," the department said in a statement.

NBC News reports, in an article by Phil Helsel, that another man said to be the deputy of militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces was also killed in the strike that killed Suleimani.

Suleimani was an iconic military commander of Iran's military forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East near Baghdad’s international airport, according to Iraqi Television reports.


UPDATE: 1/2 7:19 p.m.

Baghdad (AP) -- Iraqi state TV and three Iraqi officials say Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad's international airport.

The officials said the strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran's-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

This is a developing story.

Baghdad (AP) -- Iraqi officials say at least three Katyusha rockets were fired at Baghdad International Airport, causing multiple casualties.

Iraq's Security Media Cell, which releases information regarding Iraqi security, said the rockets landed near the cargo hall Friday.

It reported several casualties and said two cars were on fire.

This is a developing story.

Associated Press

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