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British General Tries to Quell Controversy Over Iraq Pull-out Remarks

  • VOA News

Britain's army chief is trying to calm a storm of controversy over his earlier remarks that British troops in Iraq should be withdrawn soon.

says his remarks to the Daily Mail newspaper were taken out of context. Both the general and British Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected suggestions of a rift between the army chief and the government.

The Daily Mail quoted the army chief as saying British troops are making the security situation in Iraq worse, and that they need to be withdrawn "sometime soon."

A spokesman for the Iraqi government (Ali al-Dabbagh) said U.S. and British troops are still needed in Iraq to establish stability.

In the latest violence, Iraqi authorities say a bomb blast early today (Friday) at a police station south of Baghdad (in Hillah) killed a commander of a special police unit and his aide.


According to the United Nations refugee agency, the violence is triggering a steady exodus from the country. U.N. officials say thousands are fleeing Iraq each month.

In Tehran during Friday prayers, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the United States for the increase in violence in Iraq. He says the U.S. is making Iraq's Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims suspicious of one another. U.S. officials contend that Iran is backing Shi'ite insurgents.

Iraq's northern city of Mosul imposed a curfew after eight insurgents were killed in heavy fighting Thursday night. The U.S. military says Iraqi security forces, with the aid of coalition troops, defeated a "complex attack" in Mosul. Iraqi police say security forces detained more than 30 suspected insurgents and seized 10 vehicles suspected of being used for terrorist activities.

The U.S. military says a roadside bomb blast killed an American soldier in northern Iraq Thursday.

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