US to Send 200 More Troops, Apache Helicopters, to Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) U.S. officials say the U.S. will send 200 more troops and a number of Apache helicopters to Iraq to assist in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the new forces will largely be used to advise Iraqi forces closer to the front lines.

The announcement comes during a push to retake the key city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest. The decision reflect weeks of discussions with commanders and Iraqi leaders, and a decision by President Barack Obama to increase the authorized troop level in Iraq by 217 or from 3,870 to 4,087.

Most of the additional troops would probably be Army special forces, who have been used to advise and assist the Iraqis. The remainder would include some trainers, security forces for the advisers, and more maintenance teams for the Apaches.

The advise-and-assist teams made up of about a dozen troops each would embed with Iraqi brigades and battalions, putting them closer to the fight, and at greater risk from mortars and rocket fire. They would have security forces with them.