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UK defense chief says British force in Iraq will grow to 'low hundreds'


LONDON — Britain's defense secretary says there will be an additional deployment of U.K. troops to Iraq to offer help and expertise in the fight against Islamic State group militants.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published Saturday that British personnel will be training Iraqi and Kurdish fighters. He put the number of troops as being "in the very low hundreds."

There are now 50 British troops in Iraq training local forces.

British warplanes have joined the U.S.-led coalition of forces attacking Islamic State group targets. But the international allies have rejected the notion of putting soldiers on the ground and put emphasis on local forces.

Fallon said Britain will share experience gleaned in Afghanistan, in particular in dealing with car and truck bombs and roadside devices.

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