Pentagon Extends Tour Duty for 2,000 Marines in Iraq

DECEMBER 1, 2004 - Posted at 5:07 p.m. CST

PENTAGON - Another 2,000 Marines will wait a bit longer to come home from Iraq, marking the third group to get a tour extension this week.

Those announcements are coming as the U.S. tries to provide security for Iraqi elections at the end of January.

The Pentagon says the unit of 2,000 Marines will stay longer than planned, but will still go home within seven months of arriving in Iraq.

This comes the same days as news that at least two Army brigades will stay for two more months, until the Iraq election is over.  And members of two airborne battalions now in the U.S. are getting ready to deploy.

Iraq's elections are set for January 30.  They're seen as a potential target for attacks.  And U.S. officials have called the elections critical for the country's future.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)