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President orders more troops to Iraq

White House insists they’re not for combat

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On the same day Islamist militants apparently beheaded an American journalist, President Obama on Tuesday ordered another 350 troops to Iraq as the U.S. continues its fight against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State.

The White House said the new deployment is meant to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities in Baghdad and comes after a direct request from the State Department.

"The president has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world. The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Before Tuesday's move, there were about 750 U.S. troops in Iraq, in addition to about 100 who were stationed in Baghdad before combat operations against the Islamic State began.

The administration stressed that none of the 350 troops deployed Tuesday will serve in a combat role.

The announcement comes on the same day that the Islamic State released a video purportedly showing the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was captured by Islamist militants in Syria about a year ago. The administration is still determining whether the video is authentic.

If it is, it will mark the second time in less than a month that the Islamic State has killed an American reporter. Last month, the group beheaded photojournalist James Foley.

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