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US deploys thousands of additional troops from Fort Bragg to Middle East following Soleimani killing

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg were deployed Saturday, according to Fort Bragg officials.

Close to 3,000 troops were reportedly deployed.

Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and 82nd Airborne Division were activated and deployed in response to the increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities.

This deployment is a precautionary action taken to respond to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, officials say.

The 'Devil' Brigade is reportedly the center of the U.S. Immediate Response Force and is capable of rapidly deploying anywhere in the world in response to a variety of contingency operations.

Following the disturbance at the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week, the US deployed 750 troops from the same unit and said that additional deployments were possible.

In a dramatic escalation amid tensions between the two countries, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the US killed Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, in a drone strike on Baghdad International airport ordered by President Donald Trump.

Intelligence showed Soleimani was in Baghdad following Tuesday's embassy attack to plan future hits on US targets with Iranian proxy forces, a senior administration official told CNN. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN Friday that the strike was carried out to disrupt an "imminent" attack in the region.

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Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement, saying:

"North Carolinians stand united behind the brave soldiers of the Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Division as they are deployed to the Middle East. Our hearts and our spirits are with them and families they leave behind. I am grateful to them and our veterans for our freedom."

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) issued the following statement after the death of Soleimani:

“Qassem Soleimani was the personification of a state sponsor of terrorism. At his direction, hundreds of American servicemen were killed and thousands more injured. At his urging, U.S. allies were attacked repeatedly and undermined by Iran’s Quds Force and their proxies.

“Under Soleimani, Iran has become the single most destabilizing force in the Middle East and an exporter of tyranny throughout the region. The blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, Yemenis, Syrians, Israelis, and countless others is on his hands.

“Soleimani is also responsible in part for Iran’s current economic strife, as he put his violent campaigns and the enrichment of the corrupt Quds Force ahead of the interests of the Iranian people.

“Iran and the Iranian people can now turn away from Soleimani’s murderous adventurism, redirect the Quds Force’s money into Iran’s economy, bring home the troops Soleimani sent abroad, and move forward toward building a more peaceful region.”

The deployment comes amid threats from the Iranian government of a "harsh revenge" for the killing of Soleimani.

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