Monday, September 10, 2007


250 British troops to leave Iraq in four weeks

(The Observer) - Britain's military deployment in southern Iraq is to be cut by 500 to 5,000 over the next few months, the Ministry of Defence announced yesterday, just six days after British troops withdrew from their base at Basra Palace. A battle group of 250 men from the King's Royal Hussars have been told they will be returning early to the UK within four weeks. Further reductions will be implemented in the coming months.
The MoD said that yesterday's announcement was part of a long-standing plan outlined in July when the Defence Secretary Des Browne said that troop numbers would be cut to 5,000 once Basra Palace was successfully handed over to Iraqi authorities. British troops are now based at Basra airport.
An MoD spokesman said: 'This morning, the Kings Royal Hussars Battle Group - approximately 250 men - were told that as part of these reductions, their tour is being cut short and they will return to the UK over the course of the next four weeks. The remaining reductions will be achieved in the coming months as part of ongoing manpower reviews. Achieving these reductions has long been our stated aim.'
The troop reduction announcement came as a key British figure in Iraq told how he chatted with 'furious' UK-born Muslims who had travelled to the Middle East to join the insurgency against British and American troops. Canon Andrew White, a close colleague of the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, said he spoke to the men from the West Midlands who were on their way to Baghdad to target US soldiers.

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