US to Increase Troop Levels in Iraq

November 22nd, 2004 - by admin

The Telegraph UK – 2004-11-22 09:16:53;sessionid=SXSUBYERERJAVQFIQMFCM5OAVCBQYJVC?xml=/news/2004/11/20/utroop.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/11/20/ixportaltop.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=54692

(November 20, 2004) — American military officials have said that they plan to extend tours of duty in Iraq and to increase troop levels there through the elections. Lt Gen Lance Smith said that additional troops could be deployed if necessary to secure the country before the vote, which is due to take place on Jan 27.

He said that troop levels would depend on the situation following the assault on Fallujah, but that “an additional brigade’s worth of forces” would probably be needed.

The Pentagon last month announced plans to delay the return home of the 3,500 soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade, which will raise American troop levels to 142,000 through the elections.

The offensive in Fallujah has set off further insurgent attacks in Sunni tribal areas as well as in Baghdad. Fighting has been continuing in the capital today. Insurgents ambushed an American patrol with roadside bombs, assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, killing one soldier and wounding nine.

An attack on a police station in the northern area of Aadhamiya killed three policemen. In the western Amriya district, gunmen opened fire on a group of Iraqi National Guards. A witness said seven of the assailants were killed in the gunbattle that ensued. Also in Amriya, a roadside bomb exploded as a National Guard convoy drove past, destroying one vehicle.

British troops in central Iraq also came under rocket attack again. Three rockets were fired at the Black Watch battle group’s desert base at Camp Dogwood, 25 miles south-west of Baghdad. All the rockets exploded on impact in the vicinity of the camp.

Military restrictions mean the exact location of the impacts cannot be reported. Black Watch Sergeant Kevin Wann, 34, from Perth, said: “This is getting to be a normal day for me now. It’s certainly an experience. We’re professional soldiers and we signed on the dotted line so this is what we have to do.”

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