US President Barack Obama plans to send about 500 more American military personnel to Iraq to help devise a counterattack against Islamic State militants, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials.
The fresh contingent will assist Iraqi forces in preparing to retake Anbar province from the extremists, the newspaper said.
The province has long served as a command center for anti-US insurgents near Baghdad. Last month, the IS seized control of Anbar’s capital, Ramadi.
The last US troop increase came in November, when Obama ordered up to 1,500 new troops to Iraq, which now hosts 3,080 American advisers, trainers and support personnel.
The new plan is a marked if modest expansion of the US military role in Iraq.
It would expose American forces to greater risk of being drawn into direct combat with Islamic State forces that already control territory around likely sites for a planned US training base, the report said.
The strategy falls short of more aggressive proposals from lawmakers like Republican Sen. John McCain, who have urged the president to send thousands more American troops to advise, assist and accompany Iraqi forces.
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