US seeks to redeploy troops from S. Korea to Iraq as Italian soldier dies in Nasiriyah
Washington wants to move some of the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea to Iraq, redeploying forces from the Cold War's last remaining flashpoint to cope with spiraling violence in Iraq, South Korean officials said Monday.
Tapping into the U.S. military force on the Korean
Peninsula would result in the first significant change of
troop levels in Seoul since the early 1990s. It underscores how much the American military is stretched to provide enough forces for Iraq while also meeting its other commitments.
"The U.S. government has told us that it needs to select
some U.S. troops in South Korea and send them to Iraq to
cope with the worsening situation in Iraq," said Kim Sook,
head of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's North American
Meanwhile, an Italian soldier died Monday of wounds
suffered during an attack the day before on an Italian
military base in Nasiriyah, the Defense Ministry said.
He was the first Italian to die in combat, fueling the debate back home over the presence of the Italian contingent in Iraq.
The Italian troops in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq, have been
under attack for the past three days. At least nine others
were injured in the clashes with the attackers, who are
believed to be supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The victim was the 20th Italian to die in Nasiriyah, but
the first to be killed in combat. The other 19 had been
killed in a bombing attack on November 12. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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