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State Department Asks For 300 Additional Military Personnel for Iraq

The U.S. State Department has asked for 300 additional American military personnel to beef up security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and at U.S. facilities at the Baghdad airport, a senior U.S. official told NBC News on Wednesday.

The request was described as under consideration by the Pentagon. The official could not identify or discuss any additional threat to those facilities or to American personnel in Iraq. The U.S. military has 849 personnel in Iraq.

The early planning suggests that about 150 of the personnel would be Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is aboard the USS Bataan in the Persian Gulf, a U.S. military official said.

A platoon of about 50 Marines is in Baghdad already, providing security, and would return to its base in Bahrain, resulting in a net increase of about 100 Marines in Baghdad initially. Additional troop deployments are being worked out, the official said.

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— Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube