Britain will send another 400 troops to Iraq (search) ahead of elections there, Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon (search) said Monday.

The soldiers from the 1st Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers will be sent from Cyprus to southeast Iraq, Hoon told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

The move will boost British troop levels in Iraq to about 9,000 — the second-highest total in the coalition after the United States. Most are based in the south near the city of Basra (search).

Hoon said the deployment was being made on the recommendation of the British commanding officer on the ground and would be "for a limited period of time."

The Pentagon has swelled U.S. forces in Iraq by 12,000 in an effort to provide security for the coming elections, but that new deployment is expected to be temporary.

Iraqis will vote Jan. 30 in landmark elections for a constitutional assembly. Many Sunni-dominated parts of the country have been torn by violence in the run-up to the ballot.