Britain to delay troop withdrawal from Iraq

Britain will delay its planned withdrawal of around 1,500 soldiers from Iraq until the end of this year, The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

Britain to delay troop withdrawal from Iraq
Citing unnamed government sources, the newspaper said that the decision was made because of an increased level of rocket attacks in the southern city of Basra, outside of which most British troops are based.

"Following a force level review conducted in theatre, we have decided -- after taking advice from commanders on the ground -- that troops levels cannot come down by more than a few hundred," a government source was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Britain currently has approximately 4,100 soldiers in Iraq, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown announcing plans to parliament in October to cut those figures to around 2,500 from this spring.

According to the Telegraph, however, some 4,000 soldiers will stay in Iraq until the end of the year.

A defence ministry spokeswoman said: "We do plan for a withdrawal, but when and timings of which will be down totally to the commanders on the ground."

Agencies
Last Mod: 19 Mart 2008, 16:07
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