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2020.01.09 16:00

Lithuanian troops moved from Iraqi Al Asad base to Kuwait

BNS 2020.01.09 16:00

Six Lithuanian soldiers who served at an Iraqi military base which was targeted by Iranian missiles on Wednesday have been redeployed to Kuwait, the military said.

“The soldiers have landed in Kuwait and are in a military base in the country,” Captain Andrius Dilda, a spokesman for the Lithuanian Defence Staff, told BNS on Thursday afternoon.

The Lithuanian soldiers were deployed on a training mission as part of a Danish contingent at the Al Asad base, which came under attack by Iran on Wednesday.

Read more: Lithuanian troops left Iraq base seven hours before attack

Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said earlier on Thursday that the decision to move the military instructors had been made by Denmark.

“Yesterday, the Danes made the decision to temporarily move the soldiers whose task was training [...] to Kuwait,” he told reporters.

The redeployed Lithuanian troops are part of the US-led operation Inherent Resolve, and were involved in training local forces in the fight against ISIS.

Another six Lithuanians are serving in a NATO-led training mission in Iraq. They remain in the country for the time being.

According to Karoblis, it makes no difference where the troops are based, because the training of local forces has been suspended due to heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Read more: Lithuania suspends Iraq training mission after Baghdad's 'changing position'

The minister says the redeployment is temporary and the troops will be moved back to Iraq once it is decided to resume training.

“Since no training is taking place, there's no major difference whether they [the troops] are in Iraq or Kuwait,” he said.

Iran launched a missile strike on two Iraqi military bases housing US-led troops in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by the US.

Read more: Lithuanian troops left Iraq base seven hours before attack