The Pentagon will call up 12,000 National Guard soldiers for service in Iraq to fill gaps in the overworked army, a news report said on Thursday.
The National Guard is a volunteer militia but they will receive an involuntary call-up to report for duty in Iraq, NBC News said.
The Pentagon said it had no immediate comment on the report.
Guard units are based in each US state. Four states will provide the troops from four brigades, the TV network said, citing unnamed Defense Department sources.
The call-up follows closely US President George W. Bush's controversial "surge" of 21,000 troops, meant to quell the sectarian violence as well as al-Qaeda fighters determined to sow chaos.
However, US troops are being rotated in and out of Iraq, sometimes without the usual training, sometimes without the customary 12 months' rest at US bases.
Pentagon sources told NBC that the orders for the deployment awaited Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' approval.
Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, have been trying to hem in Bush, by conditioning continued war funding on setting a timeline for drawing down troop levels in Iraq.
The Pentagon said on Thursday that some 145,000 US troops are serving in Iraq.
Some 3,250 US troops have also died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, according to a count based on Pentagon figures.
A US Defense Department spokesman said on Monday that some 30,000 additional US troops sent as reinforcements to Iraq will remain in the war-torn country until at least the end of August.
The Pentagon would deploy 7,000 troops to replace units on their way out of Iraq, a move that would allow the reinforcements to remain in the country until at least late August, spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Meanwhile, a truck bomb exploded in the volatile Iraqi city of Ramadi yesterday, killing at least 20 people and releasing chlorine gas into the air, police and security sources said.
Police Colonel Tareq Dulaimi from Ramadi said the bomb, which targeted a police patrol, wounded as many as 30 people. He said people were also choking from the gas.
There has been a spate of chlorine truck bomb attacks in recent months, mainly in western Anbar Province. US commanders and Iraqi police have blamed al-Qaeda militants for several of the chlorine attacks.
Anbar Province has been a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency but many tribes in the region recently switched allegiance, with large numbers of military-age men joining the police force and Iraqi army in a bid to expel al-Qaeda fighters from Iraq.
The Palauan president-elect has vowed to stand up to Chinese “bullying” in the Pacific, saying that the archipelago nation is set to stand by its alliances with “true friends,” Taiwan and the US. Surangel Whipps Jr, 52, a supermarket owner and two-time senator from a prominent Palauan family, is to be sworn in as the new president tomorrow, succeeding his brother-in-law, Tommy Remengesau Jr. In a forthright interview, Whipps said that the US had demonstrated over the years that it was a reliable friend of Palau, most recently shown by its delivery of 6,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s important for
DELIVERING HOPE: The Japanese PM pledged to push ahead with plans to stage the Games, despite polls showing about 80% think they will not or should not happen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday vowed to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympic Games this summer with ample protection. In a speech opening a new session of parliament, Suga said that his government would revise laws to make disease prevention measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its caseload manageable with nonbinding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing, and for people to stay at home, but recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes
On Sunday last week, in a nondescript building in the Indian city of Gwalior, 322km south of Delhi, a large crowd of men gathered. Most wore bright saffron hats and scarves, a color evoking Hindu nationalism, and many held strands of flowers as devotional offerings. They were there to attend the inauguration of the Godse Gyan Shala, a memorial library and “knowledge center” dedicated to Nathuram Godse, the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. The devotional yellow and pink flowers were laid around a black and white photograph of Godse, the centerpiece of the room. On Jan. 30, 1948, Godse stepped out in
CAN ‘STILL DREAM’: Lai Chi-wai said he hoped the event would send the message that people with disabilities can ‘bring about opportunity, hope’ Lai Chi-wai (黎志偉) became the first person in Hong Kong to climb more than 250m of a skyscraper while strapped into a wheelchair, as he pulled himself up for more than 10 hours on Saturday to raise money for spinal cord patients. The 37-year-old climber, whose car accident 10 years ago left him paralyzed from waist down, could not make it to the top of the 300m-tall Nina Tower on the Kowloon peninsula. “I was quite scared,” Lai said. “Climbing up a mountain, I can hold on to rocks or little holes, but with glass, all I can really rely on is