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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

02 Oct 07. UK troops in Basra cut by 1,000. UK troops in Basra are to be cut by 1,000 by the end of the year, Gordon Brown has said on a visit to Baghdad for talks with senior politicians. Mr Brown also confirmed Basra province could be handed over to full Iraqi control in the next two months. Britain currently has about 5,500 troops stationed at Basra Airport. Mr Brown, on his first visit to Iraq as UK prime minister, praised the troops for their “great courage, professionalism and bravery”. He met key figures including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. He was also due to meet the US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus. Mr Brown landed at Baghdad International Airport under heavy guard before being taken by helicopter to the fortified Green Zone. BBC political correspondent James Hardy said he went straight into meetings before making a surprise announcement that 1,000 troops would be home by Christmas. (Source: BBC)

26 Sep 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Sergeant from the Royal Logistic Corps died on 21 Sep 07 from injuries sustained in the Basrah Ammunition Supply Point on 19 Sep 07. The NCO’s injuries were accidental and involved a forklift truck. UK deaths since the start of the Campaign thus rose to 170, of whom 109 have been classified as Killed in Action and 24 as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 22 Sep 07.)
HMS RICHMOND, supported by RFA Sir Bedivere, is currently protecting the Al Basrah Oil Terminal which
is six miles South of the Iraqi coast. HMS RICHMOND arrived in the Gulf in mid-July 2007, relieving
HMS CORNWALL. (MoD, 24 Sep 07.)
“The security situation in Basrah remains relatively stable and the violence has reduced considerably following our repositioning of forces from Basrah Palace.” (MoD, 26 Sep 07.)
“Fears about security in Basrah have been mounting since the British Army left its last position within the City on 2 Sep 07.” (AP, 26 Sep 07.)
Hermes-450 (H450) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have begun to operate in Southern Iraq. The UAV are operated by 32 Regiment, Royal Artillery, although ownership is retained by Thales. Support in theatre is provided by contractors from U-TacS (a joint Thales and Elbit company). (MoD, 27 Sep 07.)
Comment: The Prime Minister mentioned Iraq (and Afghanistan) once in his address to the Labour Party
(24 Sep 07). In his speech (25 Sep 07), the Defence Secretary said that: “At some point in the near future the Iraqi Forces will be able to take over full responsibility for the security of Basrah Province.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0738, 01 Oct 07)

26 Sep 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The introduction of a free postal service to those on OP HERRICK saw a doubling of the amount of mail delivered to Camp Bastion. (MoD, 25 Sep 07.) The first 160 members of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, deployed to Afghanistan on 26 Sep 07. The rest of the Commando are to follow over the next two weeks, bringing the total to about 700. (MoD, 26 Sep 07.)
1st Bn The Royal Gurkha Rifles is part of the Task Force taking part in OP PALK WAHEL in the Upper Gereshk Valley. (MoD, 27 Sep 07.)
Part of 32 Regiment, Royal Artillery, returned to Larkhill on 27 Sep 07. (MoD, 27 Sep 07.)
Thales’ personnel, acting as MoD contractors, are supporting the use of UAV by launching and recovering the vehicles. (MoD, 27 Sep 07.) [See also H450 UAV entry under Item 1.]
Members of 1st Bn Grenadier Guards returned to Lille Barracks, Aldershot. (MoD, 27 Sep 07.)
Comment: The Prime Minister mentioned Afghanistan (and Iraq) once in his address to the Labour Party
(24 Sep 07). In his speech on the following day, the Defence Secretary got caught up in his own rhetoric when he described Afghanistan as “the noble cause of the 21st Century”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0738, 01 Oct 07)

26 Sep 07. Ending of Operations: National Commemorations
The MoD confirmed (26 Sep 07) that national commemorations are held to mark the end of Operations. For example

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