Spain to send 300 troops to Iraq

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SPAIN is to send 300 troops to Iraq on a training mission.

The troops would be deployed by the end of the year, said Defence Minister Pedro Morenes in an address delivered before the Spanish Government asking them to green-light the mission, which would join the US-led coalition against militant jihadism.

All parliamentary groups pledged their support to the planned deployment of troops, with the exception of Izquierda Plural and ERC. Spain would also give the US the go-ahead to use the Naval Station Rota in the Province of Cadiz and the Moron Air Base in Sevilla.

The troops would participate in the international coalition against the terrorism and brutality of Islamic State in and for Iraq and under the legitimate request for help made by the Iraqi Government to the United Nations, said the Minister.

Islamic State is not a weak enemy and they have more than 30,000 fighters, warned Morenes adding that it is a terrorist group that could pose an even bigger threat if it is not broken up. “They are a direct threat against Spain, against an open society and years of effort to achieve stability,” he remarked.

Out of the 300 troops Spain is planning on deploying in Iraq, 20 officers are to be sent to the headquarters of the Iraqi army and 96 experts in special operations to a base located in southern Iraq. The rest of the troops are to provide training and intelligence services, among others.

The six-month mission is to cost around €35 million.

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