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Hundreds of British soldiers will be sent to Iraq as part of new NATO mission 

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UK troops surge as Iraq simmers: Hundreds of British soldiers will be sent to Iraq as part of new NATO mission

  • Britain to send hundreds of troops to Iraq in biggest increase since the Gulf War
  • Defence sources say Nato plans to increase numbers in Iraq from 400 to 5,000
  • 179 British troops lost their lives in Iraq following its invasion in March 2003 

Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the biggest increase of UK soldiers there since the last Gulf War.

The decision is expected to double or even triple the current numbers later this year.

In total 179 British troops lost their lives in Iraq following its invasion in March 2003 until the official cessation of Operation Telic eight years later.

Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the biggest increase of UK soldiers there since the last Gulf War [File photo]

Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the biggest increase of UK soldiers there since the last Gulf War [File photo] 

The last British fighting troops withdrew in May 2011 at the end of the controversial campaign.

Currently 100 UK personnel are stationed there training Iraqi security forces. Under a new Nato mission, they could also be used in a security role – which could bring them into direct conflict with militia groups.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s announcement last night came days after a rocket attack on a US base in northern Iraq killed a civilian contractor and wounded nine others.

According to defence sources, Nato plans to increase its numbers in Iraq from 400 to 5,000.

Under a new Nato mission, they could also be used in a security role ¿ which could bring them into direct conflict with militia groups. ISIS is seen above in Syria in 2017

Under a new Nato mission, they could also be used in a security role – which could bring them into direct conflict with militia groups. ISIS is seen above in Syria in 2017

Backing the decision, former Army commander Colonel Richard Kemp said: ‘Iraqi forces face a growing threat from Islamic State, with a double suicide bombing in Baghdad in January and daily attacks across the country.

Col Kemp said the rise of IS had ‘led to numerous terrorist attacks in Europe including the UK’. 

He added: ‘We and Nato must do whatever we can to help the Iraqis improve their military capabilities so they can impose greater control on their territory. In doing so our forces will also be protecting us here at home.’

Nato Mission Iraq provides training and advice to the Iraqi government and security forces in an non-combat mission.

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