The U.S. sent 129 additional military personnel to Iraq to help develop an evacuation plan for tens of thousands of Iraqis stranded on a mountain under threat from Islamic extremists in northern Iraq. The new deployment raises the level of American military personnel in the country to 935, including 250 military advisors already in place, as well as an additional 100 assigned to the U.S. Embassy and the airport in Baghdad. At least 100 aircraft and more than half a dozen ships are also available to assist in the ongoing crisis.
A top Pentagon official told reporters Monday that the effect of U.S. airstrikes is unlikely to stop the momentum of the fast-advancing Sunni militants intent on creating a new Islamic state in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
“This fiction that Americans are not going to be in a combat role is just that,” retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Francona told CNN.
The new batch of troops consists of Marines and special operations forces from within the U.S. Central Command region.
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