Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

U.S. Boosts Baghdad Diplomatic Security With 350 More Soldiers

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets U.S. Marines as he arrives June 23 at the American Embassy in the International Zone in Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
Brendan Smialowski
/
AFP/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets U.S. Marines as he arrives June 23 at the American Embassy in the International Zone in Iraq's capital, Baghdad.

The U.S. is adding 350 more troops to help protect the American Embassy in Baghdad and its support facilities in the Iraqi capital.

That raises the number of U.S. forces in Iraq to more than 1,000, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The additional troops, which were requested by the State Department, will not serve in a combat role.

According to a White House statement, the request that President Obama approved will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time provide a more robust, sustainable security force for U.S. personnel and facilities in Baghdad.

The additional joint forces will come from within the U.S. Central Command area of operations and will include a headquarters element, medical personnel, associated helicopters and an air liaison team, a Pentagon statement said.

The latest increase in troops comes on the same day Islamic State militants released a video claiming U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff had been beheaded.

As we noted Tuesday, "The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had threatened Sotloff's life when it released a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley two weeks ago."

Obama is in Estonia to meet with Baltic leaders, and then will attend the NATO summit in Wales, where allies will discuss a strategy against the Islamic State.

Also on Tuesday, the Pentagon disclosed that American airstrikes in Iraq destroyed or damaged 16 Islamic State armed vehicles near Mosul Dam.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.