(Pentagon-AP) -- US troops will remain at their current levels
in Iraq until the end of 2005. The announcement from the Pentagon to maintain troop levels at about 135,000 acknowledges that the situation in Iraq is more dangerous than military leaders had hoped it would be by this point in the conflict.
A surge in violence in April by Sunni and Shiite Muslims and the
pull-out of some coalition troops -- most notably Spain's -- factored into the decision. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced today that 10,000 active-duty Army soldiers and Marines will be sent to
Iraq this summer to replace two units that already saw their return
date pushed back once.
Another 10,000 will be sent later to fill out the replacement forces. An Army general says the incoming troops will be more heavily armed than those who are leaving.