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US to deploy 275 army personnel to protect embassy in Iraq

June 17, 2014 12:15 IST

The United States is deploying up to 275 military personnel in Iraq to protect its citizens and property as the war-torn country battles a dramatic sweep by insurgents there.

Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby said over the weekend, a number of teams totaling approximately 170 US personnel began arriving in Baghdad from within the US central command area of responsibility. "We have also moved approximately 100 personnel into the region to provide airfield management, security, and logistics support, if required. All of these forces are trained to integrate with existing US embassy security teams or operate as a standalone force as directed," he said.

"The safety of personnel serving in diplomatic missions abroad is among our highest priorities. The presence of these additional forces will help enable the state department to continue their critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraqis on challenges they are facing," Kirby said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Obama notified the Congress that this force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. "This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed," he said.  

Earlier in the day, Obama notified the Congress that this force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.

"This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect US citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as commander in chief and chief executive," Obama said.

"The personnel will provide assistance to the department of state in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the US embassy in Baghdad to the US consulates general in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq support unit in Amman," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Noting that these US military personnel are entering Iraq with the consent of Iraqi Government, Carney said the US embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the US embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry continued to reach out to his counterparts in the region to discuss the emerging situation in Iraq, wherein Islamic militants have gained control of a section of the country. He called the foreign ministers of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

On Monday, Obama held meeting with his National Security Advisor Suan Rice to take an update in the situation.

Image: US marines raise a flag at the embassy in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters

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