275 US military personnel to Iraq, says Obama

President Barack Obama has told the United States Congress up to 275 military personnel will be deployed to Iraq after rebels seized control of the country’s north.

The troops will provide support and security for US personnel and the country’s embassy in Baghdad.

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama said in a letter to legislators.

“This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”

The president said he was notifying Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

The US was also considering drone strikes in Iraq and has sent more ships to the Gulf, as the UN said it was pulling its staff out of Baghdad following lightning advances by the Sunni rebels.

John Kerry, the secretary of state, on Monday said drone strikes were “not the whole answer” to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s campaign but added they they could be “one of the options that are important”.
When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that. And you do what you need to do if you need to try to stop it from the air or otherwise.”

The UN meanwhile said it was pulling staff from Baghdad, with at least 58 already moved to Jordan. The organisation planned to relocate others to Erbil, which is the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq..

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