Paratroopers deployed to Middle East after Baghdad attack have returned home, officials say

The U.S. Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division said 800 paratroopers have returned home to Fort Bragg, N.C., on Thursday after a hasty deployment to the Middle East following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad last year.

The announcement came on the same day the State Department slapped new sanctions on Iran ahead of parliamentary elections on Friday.

Roughly 80,000 U.S. troops remain in the Middle East, including aboard warships stationed at sea.

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In late December 2019, dozens of Iraqi Shiite militia supporters gained entry to the embassy compound in Baghdad after reportedly smashing down a gate and storming inside. The outburst came amid protests over U.S. airstrikes in the region.

The 82nd Airborne's Twitter account sent out a message on Thursday saluting the troops with photos of their arrival back home and wished them many happy returns.

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"Today we welcomed home the first @Strike_Hold #Paratroopers from their deployment to @CENTCOM [Central Commend]," the tweet read. "When our Nation called, the Immediate Response Force answered by conducting a no-notice deployment.

It added: "The Division is proud of you all and wishes a warm #WelcomeHome. #Airborne #ATW."

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.