An elite Marine rapid response team arrived in Yemen’s capital Friday in the wake of violence and protests at the U.S. Embassy, the Pentagon said.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said the decision to dispatch about 50 Marines to Sanaa was partly in response to the violence and partly as a precautionary measure.
The Marines are members of a platoon from a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, a specially trained and configured group that makes short-notice deployments in response to terrorist threats and to reinforce security at U.S. embassies.
A similar team was dispatched to Tripoli, Libya, on Wednesday in response to the deadly consulate attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans.
Little said no other such teams had been sent to Cairo or other Arab capitals where protesters have been demonstrating over an anti-Islam video.
The deployment to Yemen came as that Arab nation’s security forces were firing live rounds and tear gas into the crowd of about 2,000 protesters trying to march to the U.S. embassy. On Thursday hundreds of protesters stormed the embassy compound and burned the American flag.