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Obama Approves Modest Increase In U.S. Forces In Iraq

The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama has approved the deployment of up to 450 additional military personnel to a base in Iraq's Anbar Province to train and advise Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State (IS) militants.

The White House said in a statement that Obama also ordered "the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel" to Iraqi forces, including Kurdish "Peshmerga and tribal fighters operating under Iraqi command."

The measure is a response to recent Iraqi military setbacks at the hands of the IS group.

The White House said Obama made the decision at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and based on advice from Pentagon officials.

Under the plan, the number of U.S. training sites in Iraq would increase from four to five, enabling a larger number of Iraqis to join the fight against the IS militants. Most of the fighters would be Sunni tribal volunteers.

Obama continues to resist demands for combat troops or for more U.S. soldiers on the ground to call in air strikes.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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