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U.S. to deploy another 450 army advisors to Iraq to boost anti-ISIS efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- The United States will send an additional 450 service members to Iraq to help train and advise Iraqi security forces in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), the White House announced on Wednesday, increasing the total number of U.S. service members there to 3,550.

"To improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the President authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, adding that Obama made the devision after a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.

Coalition trainers have so far trained more than 9,000 Iraqi troops at four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbit, and Taji, according to the White House. Another 3,000 Iraqi troops are currently in training.

"These new advisors will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the Prime Minister," Earnest explained. "These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role and will augment the 3,100 U.S. troops who have already deployed to Iraq."

The Pentagon said Wednesday's announcement does not represent a change in the U.S. mission, and merely adds a fifth location for the U.S. armed forces to train and advise Iraqi forces. "Ultimately, these Iraqi forces will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens and retake its territory from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," the Pentagon said in a statement.

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