Scrolling news:

Iraq: US seeks verification of ‘Islamic State’ beheading of journalist James Foley

Japan: Torrential rains unleash deadly landslide killing a dozen people in Hiroshima

Palestine: Three Palestinians killed, incl 3 year-old child, in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City

Palestine: Dozens Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army demolishes cave housing family near Bethlehem

Palestine: Several Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank, Israeli settlers attack cars

Palestine: Israel bombs Gaza, withdraws negotiators from Cairo

Pakistan: 18 suspected militants killed in fresh NWA, Khyber airstrikes

US: Ferguson curfew lifted, Obama appeals for restraint

Iraq: Obama says Mosul Dam retaken from extremists with US help

Palestine: Palestinian female detainee denied family visits since her arrest in 2012

Palestine: Nine Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli soldiers from West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army detonates two homes in Hebron, seals one with concrete blocs

Palestine: Six Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank

Syria: Airstrikes kill 31 terrorists in Raqqa city

Palestine: Body recovered in Shujaiyya a month after ‘massacre’ by Israel

Palestine: Hamas says Israel stalling on agreement as Gaza death toll hits 2016

US: Curfew imposed for second night in Ferguson, Missouri

Palestine: Palestinian arrested filming Israeli settlers throwing stones in W Bank

Israel: 5 of 64 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza invasion were killed by ‘Friendly Fire’

US bolsters Iraq troop presence to protect embassy, assess ISIS threat

1st Jul 2014
US bolsters Iraq troop presence to protect embassy, assess ISIS threat

Washington has announced it will send more troops to Iraq, chiefly to beef up embassy defenses. The move comes in addition to an earlier deployment to assess how the US might help.

US President Barack Obama said on Monday he had sent an extra 200 troops, equipped with surveillance equipment and helicopters, to protect US interests and citizens in Iraq.

The move, revealed in a letter to Congress, means there will be nearly 800 US soldiers in Iraq after Sunni Islamist radicals seized much of the north of the country.

“I have ordered up to approximately 200 additional US Armed Forces personnel to Iraq to reinforce security at the US Embassy, its support facilities, and the Baghdad International Airport,” Obama said in the letter.

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.”

The Pentagon said the new detachment was also equipped with aerial drones to protect US personnel traveling away from the embassy in the event of an evacuation. Another 100 troops, already on standby in the region, were also said to have been deployed to assist with the same mission.

A growing US presence

The soldiers, who arrived on Sunday and Monday, are in addition to a force of some 300 US special forces personnel tasked with advising the Iraqi army and identifying how the US can provide support.

Once all troops are in place, the US is expected to have at least 750 personnel in Iraq.

Iraqi forces on Monday pressed on with their counter-offensive against jihadists in the city of Tikrit, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Baghdad.

The rebel group, which had been calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), has now renamed itself the Islamic State (IS). It also declared a caliphate, stretching from Aleppo in Syria’s northwest, to Diyala province in eastern Iraq.

The group posted an audio recording declaring its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere.”

(AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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