Spain approves increase in US rapid reaction force

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MADRID (AP) — Spain's government has authorized an increase in a temporary force of U.S. marines and aircraft based at a southwestern Spanish air base as part of a rapid reaction force to deal with crises in Africa.

The American presence at Moron base will increase to 850 marines from 500 approved in April, while the number of transport and support aircraft will double to 16, the government says.

The authorization under a 1988 cooperation was approved by Spain's Cabinet on Friday.

The Cabinet also said it would seek Parliament's approval to deploy a special operations force of 75 to the Central African Republic. France boosted its troop presence there to 2,000 on Feb. 14. The forces will be working alongside nearly 6,000 African peacekeepers.

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