More UK troops to train Iraqi forces

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Soldiers on patrolImage source, PA
Image caption,
More than 300 UK military personnel are in Iraq

The UK will send at least 30 more military trainers to Iraq to boost its training mission there, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

This will bring the number of UK personnel in Iraq to more than 300.

Mr Fallon said there had been "solid progress" in recent months against the so-called Islamic State group, which controls parts of the country.

The team will provide training in logistics and include medical staff and bridge building experts.

A number of bridges have been destroyed by IS or by coalition air strikes.

"Now is the time to step up our training of Iraqi Forces, as they prepare for operations in key cities such as Fallujah and Mosul," Mr Fallon said.

"Along with the trebling of UK air strikes, this underlines the crucial role our armed forces are playing in the fight against Daesh [IS]."

The BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said it was a sign that attention was turning towards the battle for Mosul, which has been controlled by IS since June 2014.

He said: "The US-led coalition though is also under pressure to address the aftermath of war - how to help rebuild and repopulate towns and cities like Ramadi recently liberated from so-called Islamic State."