(WASHINGTON) — “Dozens” of Marines will be augmenting embassy security in Turkey, Israel, and Jordan, two U.S. defense officials confirmed to ABC News.
The news comes on the same day that the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem and at least 55 people were killed during protests in Gaza, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Demonstrations against the U.S. Jerusalem embassy opening also took place on Monday in both Turkey and Jordan.
According to Marine Corps spokesperson Capt. Ryan Alvis, the increase is “in light of current events” with one official saying it’s to protect U.S. citizens and embassy grounds.
“These Marines, assigned to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, headquartered at Quantico, Va., are uniquely postured to respond expeditiously to augment embassies at the request of the State Department,” Alvis said in a statement.
The Marines are not quick reaction forces known as FAST teams (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams) sent by the Pentagon to reinforce embassy security it the most heightened risk environments.
“Augmentation is conducted regularly when a diplomatic post faces a heightened threat environment. Due to operational security reasons, we cannot discuss these units’ size, capabilities, and deployment timelines,” said Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, Pentagon spokeswoman.
NBC News was first to report that “dozens” of Marines would be supplementing security in Turkey, Israel, and Jordan.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara last issued a statement on May 11, warning that the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could spark protests. But there have not been similar alerts issued by embassies in Israel and Jordan.
The last alert issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan was in late February – related to demonstrations in the West Bank.
Recent alerts from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv prohibited U.S. government employee travel to the Golan Heights due to regional tension.
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