1. Iraq and Israel: The NY Times' Double Standards
2. "40 dead as US bombs Fallujah mosque" (ABC Australia News, April 7, 2004)
3. "Military Deaths in Iraq" (AP, April 6, 2004)
4. "Iran, Hezbollah support al-Sadr" (Washington Times, April 7, 2004)
5. "Ukraine troops leave Iraqi city in hands of radical Shiites" (AFP, April 7, 2004)
6. "60 Iraqis Killed in Fallujah Fighting" (AP, April 7, 2004)
7. "At Least 36 Iraqis Killed in Falluja - Doctors" (Reuters, April 7, 2004)
8. "Iraqis in Al-Fallujah call for international intervention" (Text of report by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on April 7, 2004)
9. Al-Jazeera reports "fierce battles" in Al-Fallujah" (Al-Jazeera TV, April 7, 2004)
10. "Britain Sends Replacement Troops to Iraq" (April 6, 2004)
[Note by Tom Gross]
This is the latest in an occasional series of dispatches concerning Iraq. Today's email is divided into two parts for space reasons. I attach various articles concerning today's fighting. First a note about yesterday's New York Times.
IRAQ AND ISRAEL: THE NY TIMES' DOUBLE STANDARDS
For years, the New York Times has striven to paint Israel and the Israeli army in a highly negative light. Among other things, this has involved selective use of text and photos by the Times, misleading headlines, and treating seriously false reports of massacres, such as the non-massacre at Jenin two years ago.
All this is in stark contrast to the extent to which the Times has bent over backwards to cover up US military action in Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Yesterday, April 6, 2004, on its "Late (i.e. final) Edition," the New York Times ran no photos of events in Iraq on its front page. (The day before dozens of Iraqis and many coalition troops were killed in the worst fighting there for almost a year.) Instead the Times ran a photo at the top of page A1 of the Connecticut Huskies - Georgia Tech college basketball game. It is very rare for the Times to run a sports photo on the top of page 1, especially on a heavy news day.
The Times had a small amount of reporting on Iraq on page 1, and two follow up pages on 12 and 13 with no large photos of damage, death or destruction.
Indeed the biggest photo in yesterday's Times, was on page A3... of the foreign leader that The Times most likes to promote... Yasser Arafat. (The photo of Arafat was, for good measure, next to a Passover gift ad, two years after Arafat was indirectly responsible for the Netanya Passover massacre of 30 Israeli civilians.)
From the Times' coverage yesterday, it is extremely difficult to get any clear idea of the extent Iraqi deaths, or indeed that there were any. The Times ran no editorials, comment pieces, or letters yesterday directly relating to the high death toll of recent days. (In marked contrast to the editorials and comments pieces it regularly runs critical of Israel.)
This lack of reporting by the Times contrasts even with those papers strongly supportive of the Iraq war. The New York Post, for example, yesterday clearly stated at the top of page 7 that 52 Iraqis had died the day before.
Meanwhile, on page 4 of yesterday's New York Times, there was a lengthy, gushing piece verging on propaganda about Syria by Ian Fisher, in which Syria was described, in the second paragraph as "a nation of relative tolerance," "good food," and "cheap shopping." No mention was made by Fisher of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, accusations by Amnesty International and others that Syria has more political prisoners than virtually any other country in the world, last month's massacres of Syrian Kurds by the Assad regime, or Syrian's hospitality to the new head of Hamas Khaled Mishal. (This is very different to Fisher's anti-Israel reporting from Israel in recent months.)
The NY Times' attitude has spread to its sister newspapers too. In the midst of the heavy fighting in Iraq, the NY Times-owned Boston Globe is currently running the following as its main headline on its "World news" section of its home page: "Israelis uproot Palestinian olive grove to make way for security barrier."
In sending out some pieces below concerning deaths in Iraq, readers may wish to keep in mind that the numbers of people being killed there is still low compared to many other conflicts around the world, and indeed compared to the daily death toll experienced in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
-- Tom Gross
1. "40 dead as US bombs Fallujah mosque" (ABC Australia News, April 7, 2004). [This article refers to insurgents] "We wanted to kill the people inside," said Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne. The officer said a Cobra helicopter gunship fired a Hell Fire missile at the mosque and then an aircraft dropped a laser-guided precision bomb... Earlier on Wednesday, all the city mosques called for a "jihad" (holy war) against occupation forces amid intense bombardments and aircraft overflights, an AFP correspondent said... The insurgents claimed in a communique to have shot down three US helicopters, destroyed two jeeps and two armoured vehicles... near Kirkuk, eight Iraqis have been killed when clashes broke out between US troops and demonstrators voicing support for Sunni resistance to the US-led occupation..."
2. "Military Deaths in Iraq" (The Associated Press, April 6, 2004) [Summary only]. "619 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq last year, according to the Department of Defense. Of those, 429 died as a result of hostile action and 190 died of non-hostile causes. The British military has reported 58 deaths; Italy, 17; Spain, eight; Bulgaria, five; Ukraine, four; Thailand, two; Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia and Poland have reported one each.
Since May 1, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 481 U.S. soldiers have died 320 as a result of hostile action and 161 of non-hostile causes, according to the military."
3. "Iran, Hezbollah support al-Sadr" (The Washington Times, April 7, 2004).
"Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiery Iraqi Shi'ite cleric who ordered his fanatical militia to attack coalition troops, is being supported by Iran and its terror surrogate Hezbollah, according to military sources with access to recent intelligence reports..."
4. "Ukraine troops leave Iraqi city in hands of radical Shiites" (AFP, April 7, 2004). "Ukrainian troops withdrew from the Iraqi city of Kut, south of the capital Baghdad, after heavy fighting with supporters of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr who now control the city, the defence ministry said. "At the request of the Americans, and to preserve the life of our military, the commander of the Ukrainian contingent decided to evacuate the civil administration staff and Ukrainian troops from Kut," the ministry said in a statement... According to the Ukrainian defence ministry, fighting lasted for around 24 hours and left several dozen Iraqis dead and one Ukrainian soldier -- the first to be killed in combat in Iraq..."
5. "60 Iraqis Killed in Fallujah Fighting" (Associated Press, April 7, 2004). "FALLUJAH, Iraq - Fighting overnight between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents killed 60 Iraqis and wounded more than 130, hospital officials said Wednesday, as mosques called for holy war against Americans and women were seen carrying weapons in the streets... Among the dead were 26 people including 16 children and up to eight women killed when warplanes struck four houses late Tuesday, said Hatem Samir, head of the clinic at Fallujah Hospital. Others were killed in street battles before dawn and into the day Wednesday."
6. "At Least 36 Iraqis Killed in Falluja - Doctors" (Reuters, April 7, 2004). [TG: This article refers to civilian deaths] "Fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja has killed at least 36 civilians over the past day, doctors said on Wednesday, including 25 killed in a house destroyed in an attack that locals blamed on U.S. forces."
TG: I attch the next two items as examples of how Al-Jazeera are covering current events:
7. "Iraqis in Al-Fallujah call for international intervention" (Text of report by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 7 April).
8. "Al-Jazeera reports "fierce battles" in Al-Fallujah" (April 7, 2004) "... Al-Jazeera TV's correspondent in Al-Fallujah, Ahmad Mansur, said "The people of Al-Fallujah are appealing to the international community to intervene to end this siege on 300,000 civilians, mostly women and children."
9. "Britain Sends Replacement Troops to Iraq" (April 6, 2004) "Thousands of troops will fly out to Iraq this week to relieve British forces already serving there, the UK Ministry of Defense said Tuesday..."
40 DEAD AS US BOMBS FALLUJAH MOSQUE
40 dead as US bombs Fallujah mosque
ABC Australia News
April 7, 2004
US Marines pressing an offensive in Fallujah, west of Iraq capital Baghdad, have bombed a mosque in the centre of the town and killed up to 40 insurgents inside, a Marine officer said. The attack came from a jet aircraft at a high angle to minimise the impact, the officer said.
"We wanted to kill the people inside," said Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne.
The officer said a Cobra helicopter gunship fired a Hell Fire missile at the mosque and then an aircraft dropped a laser-guided precision bomb.
Fallujah residents confirmed that the Abdulaziz al-Samarai mosque was hit along with the building of the Islamic Scholars' Association.
The officer said the marines carried out the raid as precisely as they could because there are people living nearby.
US forces say the insurgents, who are fiercely opposed to the US-led occupation of Iraq, were using mosques to fire on marines and to hide weapons.
Earlier on Wednesday, all the city mosques called for a "jihad" (holy war) against occupation forces amid intense bombardments and aircraft overflights, an AFP correspondent said.
The insurgents claimed in a communique to have shot down three US helicopters, destroyed two jeeps and two armoured vehicles.
They also claimed they were still in control of the city and had put US forces to flight.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Byrne said the Marines advancing from the south reached the centre of Fallujah amid fierce fighting on the third day of "Operation Vigilant Resolve" to flush out insurgents who killed four American contractors here last week.
"The Marines are now at the centre of the city," he told AFP.
It was not immediately clear if Marines advancing from the north had also reached the centre of Fallujah.
Meanwhile, the US army says one of its helicopters has been hit by small arms fire north of Baghdad, but landed safely with no reports of casualties.
A US spokesman says the helicopter landed near Baquba, 65 kilometres north of Baghdad.
In the town of Balad, one US soldier was killed and one wounded during a skirmish with insurgents.
Iraqi police in the town of Kerbala say Polish troops have killed the head of militant Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's office in the city.
And near Kirkuk, eight Iraqis have been killed when clashes broke out between US troops and demonstrators voicing support for Sunni resistance to the US-led occupation.
US MILITARY DEATHS IN IRAQ
U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq
The Associated Press
April 6, 2004
As of Tuesday, April 6, 619 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq (news - web sites) last year, according to the Department of Defense (news - web sites). Of those, 429 died as a result of hostile action and 190 died of non-hostile causes.
The British military has reported 58 deaths; Italy, 17; Spain, eight; Bulgaria, five; Ukraine, four; Thailand, two; Denmark, El Salvador (news - web sites), Estonia and Poland have reported one each.
Since May 1, when President Bush (news - web sites) declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 481 U.S. soldiers have died 320 as a result of hostile action and 161 of non-hostile causes, according to the military.
IRAN, HEZBOLLAH SUPPORT AL-SADR
Iran, Hezbollah support al-Sadr
By Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times
April 7, 2004
Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiery Iraqi Shi'ite cleric who ordered his fanatical militia to attack coalition troops, is being supported by Iran and its terror surrogate Hezbollah, according to military sources with access to recent intelligence reports.
Sheik al-Sadr's bid to spark a widespread uprising in Iraq comes at a particularly pivotal time. The United States is conducting a massive troop rotation that leaves inexperienced troops in some locations, including Fallujah, which is west of Baghdad and where Sunnis have mounted another series of rebellions.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that he will consider more U.S. forces for Iraq if his top commander there, Gen. John Abizaid, requests them. There are about 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and the force strength is scheduled to shrink by 15,000 once the rotation is completed.
"The commanders are using the excess of forces that happen to be in there because of the deployment process," Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters. "They will decide what they need, and they will get what they need."
Sheik al-Sadr, who has traveled to Iran and met with its hard-line Shi'ite clerics, is an ardent foe of the United States who wants all foreign troops to leave.
The United States suspects that his goal is to create a hard-line Shi'ite regime in Iraq modeled after Tehran's government. Military sources said Sheik al-Sadr is being aided directly by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which plays a large role in running that country, and by Hezbollah, an Iranian-created terrorist group based in Lebanon.
One of the sources said these two organizations are supplying the cleric with money, spiritual support and possibly weapons. "Iran does not want a success in Iraq," the source said.
"A democratic Iraq is a death knell to the mullahs." Sheik al-Sadr upped the ante during the weekend by calling for his 3,000-strong militia, the Army of the Mahdi, to begin attacking coalition forces. His fiery words touched off attacks throughout southern Iraq.
The Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad announced on Monday that an Iraqi judge months ago had issued an arrest warrant for Sheik al-Sadr on a charge of murdering a moderate Shi'ite cleric.
The question for U.S. commanders is how to arrest Sheik al-Sadr without further enraging his small but violent group of followers. "Let the Iraqis kill him," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney. "We should not kill him, but we may have to. He's trying to create an uprising. This is their Tet offensive. We're going to kill a lot of them just like we did at Tet."
John Hillen, a former Army captain who fought in Operation Desert Storm during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, said the first step should be to try to discredit the cleric, using the condemnation of moderate Shi'ite leaders, before arresting him.
"You need to defuse the situation," Mr. Hillen said. "You need to make it Iraqi versus Iraqi. You've got to discredit him by his own people and find legitimate sources on our side. Make this as much a Shi'ite-to-Shi'ite issue as opposed to the Americans versus Sadr."
The U.S. military is trying new tactics to try to quell insurgents in Fallujah, avoiding time-consuming house-to-house sweeps in favor of targeted raids based on hard intelligence. When the 82nd Airborne Division first tried to subdue Fallujah in the summer, units went block by block to locate insurgents. Now, in the second intense battle for the city of Saddam Hussein loyalists, intelligence collection has improved and U.S. Marines can target specific dwellings.
"The plan is not to go house to house, street to street. We are trying to get insurgents," Capt. Ed Sullivan told Agence France-Presse.
Mr. Hillen said such precision operations mean that the Marines are getting good intelligence. "If you have good intelligence beforehand, which is the key to the whole Fallujah-type operations, you can at the same time be precise and overwhelming. We've been in and around Fallujah for quite some time, and I'm sure we have some pretty good intelligence sources there."
Mr. Rumsfeld said part of the intelligence resources are photographs of Iraqis who participated in the killings and mutilations of four American contractors. The former military commandos were serving as security staff in Fallujah and moving on a main road frequently traveled by coalition personnel when they were ambushed.
"They have photographs of a good many people who were involved in the attacks against the individuals, and they have been conducting raids in the city against high-value targets," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "They've captured a number of people over the past 36 hours. The city is isolated. A number of people have resisted and been killed. And it will be a methodical effort to find the individuals who were involved."
UKRAINE TROOPS LEAVE IRAQI CITY IN HANDS OF RADICAL SHIITES
Ukraine troops leave Iraqi city in hands of radical Shiites
April 7, 2004
Ukrainian troops withdrew from the Iraqi city of Kut, south of the capital Baghdad, after heavy fighting with supporters of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr who now control the city, the defence ministry said.
"At the request of the Americans, and to preserve the life of our military, the commander of the Ukrainian contingent decided to evacuate the civil administration staff and Ukrainian troops from Kut," the ministry said in a statement.
"The operation began at dawn on Wednesday... under escort from attack helicopters," the ministry added.
Members of the Iraqi civil defense forces already on Tuesday had said that Sadr's militia controlled Kut, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Baghdad, but this was denied by the Ukrainian military.
According to the Ukrainian defence ministry, fighting lasted for around 24 hours and left several dozen Iraqis dead and one Ukrainian soldier -- the first to be killed in combat in Iraq.
The Ukrainian soldiers retreated to their base outside Kut in the Iraqi province of Wasit. "The situation is calm and under control in the rest of the province," the defence ministry said.
Ukraine has some 1,650 troops in Iraq, part of a 9,000-strong Polish-led force controlling a swathe of the country south of Baghdad.
Last month Kiev said it was not planning to pull out its troops despite Spain's decision to recall its 1,300 soldiers from the war-torn country by the end of June unless they come under UN command.
The Spanish troops also serve in the Polish-led sector.
60 IRAQIS KILLED IN FALLUJAH FIGHTING
60 Iraqis Killed in Fallujah Fighting
By Bassem Mroue
The Associated Press
April 7, 2004
Fighting overnight between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents killed 60 Iraqis and wounded more than 130, hospital officials said Wednesday, as mosques called for holy war against Americans and women were seen carrying weapons in the streets.
Marines and gunmen were engaged in heavy battles in the Dubat neighborhood on the eastern side of the besieged city and in other parts in the center, witnesses said. U.S. warplanes opened fire on groups of Iraqis in the street.
Rocket-propelled grenade fire set a U.S. Humvee ablaze, injuring soldiers inside, witnesses said.
Among the dead were 26 people including 16 children and up to eight women killed when warplanes struck four houses late Tuesday, said Hatem Samir, head of the clinic at Fallujah Hospital. Others were killed in street battles before dawn and into the day Wednesday.
Messages from mosque loudspeakers called for "jihad," or holy war. Some gunmen in the street were seen carrying mortars, and some women carried automatic weapons.
Hundreds of U.S. Marines and Iraqi police have surrounded Fallujah, west of Baghdad, since Monday in a largescale operation aimed at uprooting Sunni Arab guerrillas behind attacks on Americans.
Also Wednesday, U.S. troops battled with insurgents in two central Iraqi towns a day after up to a dozen Marines, two more coalition soldiers and scores of Iraqis were killed in the most extensive fighting since President Bush (news - web sites) declared the war over in May.
Fighting was spreading in several directions at once, with Shiite militiamen attacking coalition troops and taking control of several southern cities.
Marines this week launched a major operation to root out Sunni Muslim guerrilas from one of their strongest bastions, the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. But on Tuesday, the insurgents opened a new front with a bloody attack on Marines in the nearby town of Ramadi.
Gunmen hiding in Ramadi's main cemetery opened fire on U.S. patrols, sparking a gunbattle in alleys and near the governor's palace, witnesses said, reporting at least two Iraqis were killed. "A significant number" of Marines were killed, and initial reports indicate it may be up to a dozen, a senior defense official said from Washington.
New fighting erupted in the same Ramadi neighborhood on Wednesday, witnesses said.
In the south, Shiite militiamen attacked coalition troops in five cities Tuesday in battles in a revolt sparked by a U.S. crackdown on their leader, radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Sadr urged Iraqis to rise up against the U.S. occupation and vowed to die rather than be captured by U.S. forces. "America has shown its evil intentions, and the proud Iraqi people cannot accept it," he said in a statement. "They must defend their rights by any means they see fit."
Depending on the number of Ramadi deaths, Tuesday's casualties could have brought the total since Sunday as high as about 30 Americans and more than 150 Iraqis killed in the fighting.
Clashes continued overnight between militiamen from al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army and coalition troops in Kut, Karbala and the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad. At least 12 Iraqis were killed in Kut and four in Baghdad, along with two Iranians caught in the crossfire in Karbala, according to doctors.
The al-Mahdi Army appeared to be in control of Kut and Kufa, occupying government buildings and roaming the streets, as Iraqi police stood aside. Witnesses reported that a British civilian working for a private security company was killed when militiamen took over the company's office in Kut.
Signs were emerging of growing sympathy between Sunni Muslim insurgents and al-Sadr's Shiite movement. In mainly Sunni Ramadi, portraits of al-Sadr were posted on government buildings, schools and mosques, along with graffiti praising him for his "heroic deeds" and "valiant uprising against the occupier."
AT LEAST 36 IRAQIS KILLED IN FALLUJA - DOCTORS
At Least 36 Iraqis Killed in Falluja - Doctors
April 7, 2004
Fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja has killed at least 36 civilians over the past day, doctors said on Wednesday, including 25 killed in a house destroyed in an attack that locals blamed on U.S. forces.
Witnesses said the house in the Sunni Muslim town, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, was hit by rockets fired by a U.S. helicopter on Tuesday night. A U.S. military spokeswoman in Baghdad said she had no information on the incident.
The house was reduced to rubble in the attack. Locals said four families had been sheltering there and that some victims were still buried in the debris.
Witnesses said fighting raged in several parts of the town on Wednesday.
U.S. Marines who took charge of the tense Sunni cities of Falluja and Ramadi last month have begun an operation aimed at hunting down guerrillas in the area.
"Operation Vigiliant Resolve" follows the killing of four U.S. private security guards in Falluja a week ago. After they were killed, a crowd of Iraqis set the bodies ablaze, mutilated them and hanged two of them from a bridge.
U.S. troops were stationed mostly along the perimeter of Falluja, which has been paralyzed by the fighting, witnesses said.
"We want the Arab League and international organizations to pressure the Americans to end this brutal siege," said Falluja resident Samir Muhammad.
"The (Iraq (news - web sites)'s) Governing Council are a bunch of traitors. They should tell the Americans to end this."
Falluja residents said they were also suffering from electricity and water shortages. Main roads leading out of the town are closed off, they said.
In Ramadi, around a dozen Marines were killed in fighting on Tuesday, U.S. officials said. On Monday, five Marines were killed in al-Anbar province that includes Ramadi and Falluja.
IRAQIS IN AL-FALLUJAH CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION
raqis in Al-Fallujah call for international intervention - TV
Text of report by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 7 April
The people of Al-Fallujah, who assembled at the city's old cemetery today to bury those who were killed in the US bombardment, have made an appeal to all Iraqis and Arabs and to the international forces to intervene to lift the US siege on Al-Fallujah and stop the ongoing US shelling of the city. At the same time, they reiterated their determination to continue the fight which was imposed upon them as they put it.
[Abd-al-Wahab al-Qaysi, identified as a notable in the city, - recording] We have to hold out, fight and struggle. This is our land. We did not attack America. It is America that attacked us. It travelled thousands of kilometres across the oceans to attack us. We have to hold fast to our religion, men, Islam and mosques.
[Video shows Iraqis assembling at cemetery, speaking to Al-Jazeera correspondent]
Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 0805 gmt 7 Apr 04
AL-JAZEERA REPORTS "FIERCE BATTLES" IN AL-FALLUJAH
Al-Jazeera reports "fierce battles" in Al-Fallujah
Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic
April 7, 2004
Al-Jazeera TV's correspondent in Al-Fallujah reported "fierce battles" in the Iraqi town on 7 April. In a live broadcast from the town, correspondent Ahmad Mansur said that there were unconfirmed reports that two US helicopters had crashed in the area.
Battles had been continuing in several areas of the eastern side for the last one and a half to two hours, the reporter said, including Al-Askari quarter, Al-Dubbat quarter, the industrial quarter and the Nazzal area. Mansur added that "fierce battles are now taking place in the Julan area in the northwest of the city".
There were unconfirmed reports of two US helicopters crashing in the area, Mansur said.
"Eyewitnesses have confirmed to us that two US helicopters crashed near Al-Anbar school. We are trying to confirm this report and we sent some people to that place," he said.
US forces were engaged in a "real street fight" with the "defenders of the city", Mansur commented.
"The US forces combed Al-Dubbat quarter and arrested some people there. The people defending the city are trying to repel the US attacks. They are firing rockets. The US forces withdraw or retreat a little and then return. Dozens of marines have entered some streets on foot in the industrial area, the Al-Julan and Nazzal quarters," Mansur reported.
Commenting on the humanitarian situation in the town, Mansur said there was a shortage of food supplies. People were sticking together and were "determined to defend the city", he added.
"The mosques are broadcasting calls of Allahu Akbar [Arabic: God is Great] in all directions," the correspondent said.
"It is very difficult to move around in the city. Barricades fill the streets. Smoke is rising from the industrial area after many shops were hit. Some houses are on fire in the areas around the industrial quarter," Mansur added.
"The people of Al-Fallujah are appealing to the international community to intervene to end this siege on 300,000 civilians, mostly women and children," Mansur reported.
BRITAIN SENDS REPLACEMENT TROOPS TO IRAQ
Britain Sends Replacement Troops to Iraq
April 6, 2004
Thousands of troops will fly out to Iraq this week to relieve British forces already serving there, the Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.
The 4,500-strong 1st Mechanized Brigade will take over from 20 Armored Brigade in southern Iraq, a spokesman said, adding that the deployment was starting this week and would take about 10 days. Britain has some 8,700 troops stationed in Iraq.
The latest British contingent didn't amount to additional troops, a spokesman said.
"They are not additional," he said. "It is one brigade taking over from another.
"We always keep things under consideration and review but there are no plans in the pipeline at the moment to send out additional troops."