US to send up to 450 more troops to train Iraqis

Spanish soldiers advance Iraqi soldiers during a training mission outside Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Islamic State extremists unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting the Iraqi army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops in a major blow to government efforts to dislodge the militants from the sprawling Sunni heartland, an Iraqi military spokesman said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the United States will send up to 450 more troops to Iraq to boost the training of local forces. It’s a response to recent setbacks at the hands of the Islamic State and Baghdad’s appeals for more help.

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 Islamic militant group. Most of the fighters would be Sunni tribal volunteers.

The White House says President Barack Obama made the decision at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and based on advice from Pentagon leaders.

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

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