US deploying military personnel to Iraq for embassy security

Updated: 2014-06-17 09:51


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WASHINGTON - The White House said Monday that it was deploying up to 275 US soldiers in Baghdad for the security of the US Embassy there amid concern over a militant group's advancement toward the Iraqi capital.

President Barack Obama had notified Congress that approximately 275 US military personnel were being deploying to Iraq "to provide support and security for US personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad," the White House said in a statement.

The deployment started on Sunday, it said.

This force was being deployed for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and was equipped for combat, Obama said in a report to Congress. "This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed."

"This action has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect US citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as commander in chief and chief executive," said the president.

The personnel will provide assistance to the State Department in connection with the temporary relocation of some staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the US Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman.

These US military personnel were entering Iraq with the consent of the Iraqi government, said the White House.

The US Embassy in Baghdad remained open, and a substantial majority of the embassy presence in Iraq would remain in place and the embassy would be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission, according to the statement.