The US has agreed to deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq and to send Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against Islamic State in Iraq, the first major increase in US forces in nearly a year, US defence officials said.
The rise in American fighting forces — and the decision to put them closer to the front lines — is designed to help Iraqi forces as they move to retake the key northern city of Mosul.
Speaking to reporters in Baghdad, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the decision to move US advisers to the Iraqi brigade and battalion level will put them “closer to the action”, but he said they will have security forces with them and the US will try to reduce the risks.
A senior US official said that eight Apache helicopters will be authorised to help the Iraqi forces when Iraq leaders determine they need them.
The official was not authorised to discuss the numbers publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Last June, the Obama administration announced that hundreds of troops would be deployed to help the Iraqis retake Ramadi — a goal they accomplished at the end of the year.
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