WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has approved a request by the new U.S. commander in Iraq for an extra 2,200 military police to help deal with an anticipated increase in detainees during the Baghdad security crackdown, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.
Gates told reporters at the Pentagon that the extra MPs are in addition to the 21,500 combat troops that President Bush is sending for the Baghdad security plan and 2,400 other troops designated to support them.
"That's a new requirement by a new commander," Gates said of the request for more MPs by Gen. David Petraeus, who assumed command in Baghdad last month.
Gates also said it was not a surprise that Sunni insurgents have launched increased attacks in recent days.
"I think that we expected that there would be in the short term an increase in violence as the surge began to make itself felt," Gates said, adding that there were other "very preliminary positive signs" that the Baghdad security plan is working.