US Deploy Marines To Iraq

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The US announced on Sunday it will put more troops on the ground in Iraq after a Marine was killed in an ISIL rocket barrage. Troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will add to American forces already in Iraq battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), the Pentagon said.

It was unclear exactly how many Marines would be deployed, but the move was made to bolster security at a coalition base near Makhmur on the frontlines with ISIL in northern Iraq.  A US Marine was killed in an ISIL rocket attack at the base on Saturday, the Pentagon said, the second American combat death in the fight against the group.

The rocket barrage occurred in the autonomous Kurdish region, where Baghdad has recently been deploying forces to prepare for an offensive against ISIL-controlled Mosul. “Several other Marines were wounded and they are being treated for their varying injuries,” the Pentagon said in a statement. Reporting from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey said the troop deployment was a direct response to the Marine’s death.

“We’re told now by sources in the Pentagon that this deployment was sped up to respond to that attack, that this is a unit that is providing security for forces in this area,” Saloomey reported. “This base is also considered to be very important in the coming months, as it is expected to become the base of operations for a possible ground offensive to retake Mosul.”