Posted November. 11, 2014 06:36,
The U.S. has decided to deploy additional 1,500 troops to Iraq to fight ISIS, the Sunni Islamic militant group. Accordingly, the total number of American soldiers deployed in Iraq is set to more than double from the current 1,400 by years end.
The White House said on Friday that President Obama approved the plan to send additional troops, after holding a luncheon meeting with the leaderships of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party for the first time after the mid-term election. According to the White House, the additional troops to be sent are backup forces that will assist training of the Iraqi military, rather than combat soldiers. Obama also requested the GOP leadership to approve 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in extra budget.
Amid this development, U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes to remove top leaders who are leading ISIS. Patrick Ryder, the spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said in a statement on Saturday, Allied forces fighter jets conducted a string of airstrikes targeting meeting places where ISIS leaders gather near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Friday night. He said the airstrikes destroyed 10 armored trucks of ISIS.
Some international media outlets raised the possibility that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi might have been riding in one of the destroyed trucks, but the U.S. military said it could not confirm it.
Meanwhile, local media raised the possibility that Baghdadi might have been injured due to another U.S. military airstrikes conducted in the western Iraqi town of al-Qaim near the Syrian border. Citing witnesses, CNN reported on Saturday that airstrikes by U.S. fighter jets on the previous day left at least 15 killed and 31 others injured. Al Arabia TV in the United Arab Emirates reported Baghdadi was seriously injured due to airstrikes in Al Qaim.