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Washington (AFP) – The United States is weighing sending up to 300 troops to Iraq to reinforce security at American diplomatic installations, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

“We are considering sending fewer than 300,” the official said, saying it was in response to a State Department request for additional security personnel.

The request comes amid an intensifying U.S. air campaign against Islamist militants in Iraq and follows the murder by Islamic State militants of U.S. journalist James Foley.

IS has threatened to kill a second hostage U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, unless U.S. President Barack Obama changes course.

The U.S. military earlier announced it has launched 14 air strikes against IS targets near the Mosul dam since the video of Foley’s beheading surfaced Tuesday on the Internet.

The added troops would increase the number of American military personnel in Iraq to around 1,150.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoon.