The thousands of additional troops are being sent from the 82nd Airborne Division as a precaution, US officials said. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said the troops would be joining around 750 forces that were sent to Kuwait earlier this week. US officials told Reuters earlier this week that thousands of additional troops could be sent to the region and had been told to prepare to deploy. Since May, the US has already dispatched around 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.
The Pentagon said the Immediate Response Force (IRF) brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was being deployed.
It said in a statement: “The brigade will deploy to Kuwait as an appropriate and precautionary action in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, and will assist in reconstituting the reserve
Fears over World War 3 have been ramped up significantly after the United States killed the Iranian General and head of the elite Quds Force in an air strike on Baghdad airport, ordered by Donald Trump.
The US said the killing was aimed at disrupting an imminent attack from Iran, with Mr Trump claiming Soleimani was plotting to kill “many more” Americans.
But Iran has quickly retaliated by promising vengeance against the US for the attack.
Soleimani was regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The attack in Baghdad also killed top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani.
The US is deploying thousands of additional troops to the Middle East
Iran news: Qassem Soleimani was killed in an overnight air strike authorised by Donald Trump
The overnight killing marks a dramatic escalation in a shadow war in the Middle East between Iran and the US and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking during a news conference late on Friday, Mr Trump the assassination of Soleimani was to “stop a war, not start a war”.
The US President said the killing of Iran’s top military chief “should have been done a long time ago”.
He told a news conference: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”
Mr Trump also claimed Iran’s top military general made killing his “sick passion”.
He added: “Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion.
READ MORE: Oil prices: Crude price SURGES after US airstrike on Iran chief
Iran news: A destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on Baghdad international airport road
“Contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Dehli and London.
“Today we remember the victims of Soleimani many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over.
“Soleimani has been penetrating acts of terror for the last 20 years.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said following the attack, Washington had violated a deal for keeping US troops in his country.
He warned harsh revenge awaited the “criminals” who killed Soleimani and said his death would redouble resistance against the United States and Israel.
President Hassan Rouhani said the killing would also stiffen Iranian resistance to the US, while the Revolutionary Guards said anti-US forces would exact revenge across the Muslim world.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said the assassinations breached his country’s sovereignty and would lead to war.
Iran news: Donald Trump said the assassination of Qassem Soleimani was to ‘stop a war, not start a war’
Iran news: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned harsh revenge awaited the ‘criminals’ who killed Soleimani
Israel has put its army on high alert, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the US action.
US allies in Europe including Britain, France and Germany, have all voiced their concern about the escalation in tensions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called for “maximum restraint”.
Spokesman Farhan Huq said in a statement: “The Secretary-General has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf.
“He is deeply concerned with the recent escalation.
“This is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf.”
World War 3 MAP: What are the most dangerous countries in the world? [MAP]
World War 3: Why was Soleimani killed NOW? [ANALYSIS]
WATCH: Terrifying moment US missile hits Qasem Soleimani convoy [VIDEO]
Iran news: Protesters burn US and Israeli flags following the killing of Qassem Soleimani
French President Emmanuel Macron also urged Iran to refrain from any provocation, and said in a statement he has held talks with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the current situation.
Washington officials said Soleimani was killed in a drone strike, while Iran said he died in an attack by US helicopters.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike on the airport in Baghdad was aimed to disrupt an “imminent attack” that would have endangerd Americans in the Middle East.
Speaking during interviews on Fox News and CNN, Mr Pompeo would not discuss specific details of the alleged threat, but said it was “an intelligence based assessment” that drove the decision to target Soleimani.
Mr Trump also posted several tweets, in which he said Soleimani had “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more”
Iran news: Donald Trump posted a serious of tweets
The US President wrote: “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!
“He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself.
“While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country.
“They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!
Mr Trump wrote in a separate tweet: The United States has paid Iraq Billions of Dollars a year, for many years. That is on top of all else we have done for them.
Iran news: Mike Pompeo said the strike on the airport in Baghdad was aimed to disrupt an ‘imminent attack’
“The people of Iraq don’t want to be dominated & controlled by Iran, but ultimately, that is their choice.
“Over the last 15 years, Iran has gained more and more control over Iraq, and the people of Iraq are not happy with that. It will never end well!”
But the US President came under attack from several of his political rivals, who raged the operation was reckless.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a contender in this year’s US presidential election, said: “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,”
This is a breaking story. More to follow.