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Iraq denies evacuation of American trainers from Baghdad air base

In this Monday, July 20, 2015 file photo, a member of the Iraqi SWAT team stands guard as security forces and others gather next to a U.S.- made F-16 fighter jet during the delivery ceremony at Balad air base, Iraq. Security measures have been increased at one of the country’s largest air bases that houses American trainers, following an attack last week, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday, June 22, 2019 while the U.S. military said operations at the base are going on as usual and there are no plans to evacuate personnel at the present time. (Khalid Mohammed, File/Associated Press).

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi authorities denied on Saturday media reports that American trainers would be evacuated from an air base, north of the capital, Baghdad, over potential security threats.

In a press statement, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, stressed that all reports circulated on social media websites about the evacuation of U.S. contractors and security advisers from the Balad Air Base in Baghdad are “groundless”.

Rasool further added that Iraqi troops are responsible for “protecting all (U.S.) military bases and maintaining the safety of advisers.”

“We protect Iraqi military bases to ensure the safety of our fighters, as well as the safety of U.S. advisers and trainers, and other coalition forces,” the spokesman added.

Three Iraqi military sources told Reuters on Friday U.S. forces are preparing to evacuate nearly 400 contractors from the Balad military base over “potential security threats.”

The staff are working for Lockheed Martin Corp and Sallyport Global at the air base, which houses US forces some 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

The sources did not give any further details about the security threats but said around half of the 800 contractors on site would be evacuated, with one saying the operation would take 10 days.



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