WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized sending some 350 additional military personnel to Iraq, hours after the Islamic State militant group released a video showing the beheading of a second American journalist.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move was taken at the request of the State Department and meant to protect American diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
"These additional forces will not serve in a combat role," Earnest said in a statement, adding the reinforcement will allow some military personnel already deployed in Iraq to leave.
Hours earlier, the Islamic State released a video online that appears to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff. The group had threatened to kill the American freelance journalist in a video posted online on Aug. 19, in which another American journalist James Foley was beheaded to avenge U.S. airstrikes on the group's targets in northern Iraq.
Following Foley's death, Obama denounced the Islamic State as a "cancer" that must be "extracted" from the Middle East. One week later, he approved surveillance flights over war-torn Syria and has been considering expanded operations since to target the Islamic State inside the country, including potential air raids.
Some Republican lawmakers have criticized Obama for his handling of the Islamic State, whose fighters have seized vast swaths of territory in northern Iraq since June and announced the establishment of a caliphate in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq.
"The president has made clear his commitment to doing whatever is required to provide the necessary security for U.S. personnel and facilities around the world," Earnest said.
He said Obama will consult with other NATO leaders this week in Wales over "additional actions" and a "broad-based" coalition to implement "a comprehensive strategy" to combat the Islamic State.
American warplanes have conducted airstrikes on the group since Aug. 8 and Obama had sent some 1,000 military personnel to Iraq.
Video appears to show IS beheading 2nd American: media
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- A new video surfaced Tuesday, appearing to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a second American, by a self-professed member of the Islamic State (IS), media here reported.
According to reports, in the video, which appeared online on Tuesday, Sotloff told the camera: "I am sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing." Full Story
IS claims beheading of U.S. journalist, threatens to kill another
DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Xinhua) -- A video released by the Islamic State (IS) militants Tuesday purported to show the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and contained threats to kill another in retaliation against the recent U.S. intervention in Iraq.
A masked fighter was shown beheading a man kneeling in an orange jumpsuit said to be Foley, a 40-year-old freelance journalist who disappeared in northwest Syria in 2012. Full Story
World appalled by beheading of American journalist: Obama
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of James Foley, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, shortly after the authenticity of a video showing the American journalist's beheading had been verified.
Obama said he had spoken to the Foley family and told them that "we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did." Full Story