Denmark withdraws troops from Iraq

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Royal Danish Air Force AS 550 Fennec helicopter at Karup Air Force Base in 2005.
Image: Pajx.

On Tuesday, Denmark formally withdrew its forces from Iraq. Responsibilities were turned over to British in a ceremony. Defense minister Søren Gade was there, having secretly flown into Iraq for the event. During the ceremony, there was a rocket attack, causing everyone to hit the deck.

"I was told today by the British chief [commanding officer], General Jonathan Shaw, that there are also demonstrations against the attacks, and that the locals have kidnapped some of those, who fire upon coalition forces," Søren Gade told Berlingske Tidende.

"The formal transfer takes place today (Tuesday) in Iraq," spokesperson for Army Operational Command, Kim Grynberger, told AFP. "A small ceremony will be held with a parade in Basra."

The 460 members of the army has already been reduced to 50 soldiers. Denmark's contribution to the Multinational force in Iraq will now consist of a small air force unit of four helicopters and 55 airmen that will work with the British.

On July 20, Denmark said that it had airlifted translators and other Iraqi employees with their families. In total it was about 200 people that by cooperating with MNF may be in danger of reprisals from insurgents.

"Out of concern for the interpreters and their families' security as well as the security of the Danish base in Iraq, the Defence Ministry has chosen to inform the public after the interpreters and others had left Iraq," the Danish Defence Ministry said in a statement.

"They had been working for us for about four years, and those who felt their security in Iraq was threatened have been granted visas to go to Denmark" where they can apply for asylum, the Danish ambassador to Iraq, Bo Eric Weber told Reuters.

Denmark announced in February that it would withdraw by August of this year.


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