US to send 200 more troops, Apache helicopters, to Iraq
The United States has agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq and to send Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, US defence officials said yesterday.
The decisions reflect weeks of discussions with commanders and Iraqi leaders and a decision by President Barack Obama to increase the authorised troop level in Iraq by 217 forces, or from 3,870 to 4,087.
The new plan, expected for weeks, would mark the first major increase in US forces in nearly a year. Last June, the Obama administration announced that hundreds of troops would be deployed to help the Iraqis retake Ramadi, a goal they accomplished at the end of the year.
Of the additional troops, most would be Army special forces, who have been used all along to advise and assist the Iraqis. The remainder would include some trainers, security forces for the advisers, and more maintenance teams for the Apaches.