US Marine platoon arrives in Baghdad to reinforce embassy after protests

The U.S. military has sent a platoon of Marines to bolster security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad following recent protests led by firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Twenty-five U.S. Marine infantrymen arrived late Thursday night, a U.S. defense official told Fox News.

The move comes amid the Sadr-led protests against the rule of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, which escalated last weekend with protesters storming the Green Zone in Baghdad where the embassy is located.

The additional Marine platoon is part of a quick reaction force established after the 2012 Benghazi attack to reinforce embassies worldwide should more protection be needed.

The protests did not materialize in Baghdad on Friday. Weather may have been a factor, as scattered thunderstorms kept protesters away, according to the U.S. official.

A U.S. Marine rifle company of more than 150 Marines, in addition to private security contractors, has been protecting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and will continue to do so.

The U.S. official described the additional Marines as a precautionary measure.