Amid anti-government demonstrations planned for this weekend, roughly 200 combat-capable U.S. Marines in southern Europe have been put on an alert status should they need to protect the U.S. Embassy or American citizens in Egypt, CNN is reporting.
The Marines were told to be ready to deploy within an hour, and would be flown in via MV-22 Osprey, the Marine Corps’ rapid deployment aircraft.
A state department spokesman told CNN that the move is precautionary, and that the U.S. fully expects the Egyptian security forces to be able to protect the American diplomatic facilities.
The move comes less than a year after a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by Islamic extremists who killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
The Obama administration has faced harsh, largely partisan, criticism for what some have deemed as a failure to respond to the attack in Libya.
Military experts have stated that there was no way military assets could have reached Benghazi in time. Officials appear committed to ensure that doesn’t happen again.
President Obama is presently on the second day of a five-day trip to Africa.
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