WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Australia's government says it has completed preparations to send about 300 additional troops to Iraq and will deploy them over the coming weeks.
The troops will work alongside about 100 New Zealand troops at the Taji base north of Baghdad. Australia's government says the combined force isn't being deployed in a combat role but rather to train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State group.
Australia already has 170 special forces troops in Baghdad advising and assisting Iraqi security forces. Another 400 Australian air force personnel are supporting air strikes against Islamic State targets from a base outside Dubai.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said in a statement Tuesday that the mission would be operational in May and was committed for two years with regular reviews.