Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that up to 275 soldiers will be sent to Iraq to secure the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and protect American staffs there.
Obama announced the deployment in a notification to Congress.
The Pentagon said the soldiers will also help evacuate Americans in Baghdad if it came to that point. The amphibious transport ship USS Mesa Verde also joined the aircraft carrier, the USS George HW Bush in the Persian Gulf, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
The Mesa Verde can carry up to 800 soldiers and Osprey and Sea Knight helicopters that will be used to airlift evacuees or transport embassy personnel.
Some 5,000 staffs man the U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone and they are staying as Islamic militants trying to take over the country fought Iraqi troops in Baquba, 40 miles north of Baghdad.
Fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS started the siege of Baquba on Monday by attacking a police station in the western edge of the city to free prisoners. The clash killed one Iraqi security personnel and nine militants, according to local officials. Forty-four prisoners were also killed when militants threw grenades at the prison.
Fighting between Peshmergas or Kurdish troops and ISIS militants was also raging in Saadiya, 55 miles north of Baghdad, as each side try to take control of the city.