British troops quit Iraqi city to take up border patrol

August 24th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: British troops quit Iraqi city to take up border patrol

Media: AFP
Byline: n/a
Date: 24 August 2006

AMARA, Iraq, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) - British troops have left a major camp near
the southern Iraqi city of Amara to launch a mission aimed at securing a
porous section of the Iranian border, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Abu Naji camp, subjected to regular mortar fire from Iraqi insurgents, has
been handed back to local Iraqi authorities while the Queen's Royal Hussars
who were based there have been moved to Basra, Major Charlie Burbridge said.

"They've gone, the compound has been handed over," he told AFP.

The armoured cavalry unit will leave its heavy Challenger 2 tanks in Basra,
the main British base in Iraq, and set up lightly equipped patrols to scout
the Iraq-Iran border in the deserts and wetlands of Maysan, he said.

"They'll use lighter vehicles like cut-down Land Rovers, be re-supplied by
air and conduct patrols for a weeks at a time," he said, comparing the
mission to British long-range desert patrols in North Africa during World
War II.

British and US commanders have accused Iranian elements of smuggling weapons
to Iraqi Shiite insurgents in Iraq over the countries' joint border.

In pulling out of the fixed camp in Amara, the British are following a
policy of gradually handing over responsibility for security in areas of the
country to Iraq's own security forces.

Authorities believe that Amara is ripe for such a handover, more than three
years after a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein's regime, even though
low-level violence continues there on a daily basis.

On Tuesday, a British armoured column raided an address in the city. Troops
arrested six suspects and fought a gunbattle with Shiite militia.

Later, 17 mortar shells were fired into Abu Naji base, wounding an Iraqi
fireman and two coalition soldiers.

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