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US sends Marines to secure embassies in Middle East

People gather to protest the US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in front of the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey on 6 December 2017 [Doğukan Keskinkılıç/Anadolu Agency]

US’ Marines yesterday reinforced their security presence at several US embassies in the Middle East following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The spokesperson of the US Defence Department, Colonel Mike Andrews, told Foreign Policy that the US military has taken a “prudent precautionary” action in the Middle East region “if violence flares up following the US embassy relocation announcement.”

“Due to operational security I won’t get into specifics, but the Department of Defence takes necessary steps to mitigate threats to US personnel and interests around the world,” Andrews said.

US officials recently revealed plans by the US administration to send a number of Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) to some American embassies in the region to reinforce their security postures in anticipation of violence that could happen after Trump’s announcement.

The FAST teams consist of a platoon of about 40 Marines specially trained to assist with providing extra security at US embassies. They are available on short notice to help other Marines providing security at US embassies worldwide.

World leaders, from Europe to the Middle East to Australia slammed Trump’s decision as “unilateral and outside the vision of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” warning of “heightened tensions or even violence across the Middle East”.

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