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Sgt. Karl King and Pfc. David Valenzuela lay down cover fire while their squad maneuvers down a street from behind the cover of a Stryker combat vehicle to engage gunmen who fired on their convoy in Al Doura, Iraq, March 7. The Soldiers are from Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. U.S. Army. 20 March, 2007. Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Obama sending 200 more US troops to Iraq

By Josh Lederman | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he’s sending about 200 more U.S. troops to Iraq to protect Americans and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The announcement will bring to nearly 800 the total number of U.S. forces in and around Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect American interests.

Obama notified House and Senate leaders in a letter on Monday. Obama says the additions include security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. But he says the additional troops will be equipped for combat. He says their purpose is to protect U.S. citizens and property if needed.

Obama says the troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed.

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