- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2018

Defense Department officials have ordered the Marine Corps to begin sending in security reinforcements to a handful of U.S. diplomatic outposts in the Middle East, as violence continues to surge in Israel over the U.S. Embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem.

Marine Corps security forces have been increased at American embassies in Turkey and Jordan, as well as the old U.S. facility in Tel Aviv. Additional Marines are also expected to be deployed to several other U.S. installations across the region, NBC News reported.

Officials at Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, confirmed the Pentagon and State Department had requested additional security support at regional embassies across the Middle East “in light of current events.”

“The exact locations or number of Marines will not be released,” Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ryan Alvis said in a statement Monday

“These Marines, assigned to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group … are uniquely postured to respond expeditiously to augment embassies at the request of the State Department,” the official said, adding the Marine reinforcements “will serve under the authority of the embassy’s ambassador or chief of mission.”

The request comes as clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli Defense Forces along the border Gaza Strip ended with over 50 protesters killed and scores wounded.

During the melee, which coincided with the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli troops fired upon protesters who attempted to breach the border fence.

Palestinian protesters responded by hurling rocks and other debris at Israeli security forces, while burning tires along the border fence line. Unconfirmed reports from Gaza claim Israeli warplanes also carried out an airstrike against masses of protesters in some of the bloodiest violence in the area since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

As fighting continued in Gaza, an American delegation led by senior White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended the formal opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

President Trump announced the decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. The development triggered a joyous reaction from the nationalist government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while infuriating rest of the Arab world.

Other nations, most recently Russia, have recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, but noted those borders only extend to the western part of the city. That delineation has always been taken in anticipation of East Jerusalem being the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Despite the embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, the Trump White House has been adamant that the ancient city’s overall boundaries should be be drawn by the Israelis and Palestinians.


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