Iraq denies withdrawal of forces from Saudi border

IRAQ BORDERIraqi military officials have denied that troops have abandoned positions along the border with Saudi Arabia, who is involved in recent insurgency in Iraq.

Interior ministry spokesman Brig Gen Saad Maan told that the border force was functioning normally.

Earlier, Saudi Takfiri TV channel al-Arabiya TV reported that Saudi Arabia had deployed 30,000 soldiers along the 900km (560-mile) frontier after Iraqi forces withdrew.

The Saudi personnel were fanning out along the border to prevent attacks by jihadist-led Takfiri rebels, it said.

Last week, King Abdullah ordered all necessary measures to be taken to protect Saudi Arabia against “terrorist threats”, who were sponsored by the Saudi Arabia for unrest and insurgency in Iraq and Syria.

On Wednesday, he discussed Iraq and the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) with his lord US President Barack Obama.

Mr Obama also thanked the Saudi monarch for his $500m (£291m) donation to the United Nations to help it address the humanitarian crisis caused by the insurgency in Iraq.

More than one million Iraqis have fled their homes over the month as Takfiri Wahabi Militants led by Isis overran Mosul, Tikrit and other cities and towns in the north and west. At least 2,461 people were killed in violent attacks in June, according to the UN and Iraqi authorities.

Amnesty offer
Western officials in the Iraqi capital said they had no reason to believe that the reported Saudi troop movement had come in response to any direct threat along the border, the BBC’s Paul Adams in Baghdad reports.

Their view was that such moves were more likely to represent a prudent step in light of the chaotic situation in Iraq, our correspondent adds.

About 10 days ago, there were reports of clashes between Isis and the Iraqi army in the town of Nukhayb, around 120km (75 miles) from the Saudi border, with witnesses talking about Iraqi troops fleeing towards the Shia holy city of Karbala, about 100km (60 miles) south of Baghdad.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki offered an amnesty for all people who had been “involved in actions against the state” but who had now “returned to their senses”, excluding those responsible for killings.
The call appeared to be an attempt to split the alliance of jihadists, loyalists of former President Saddam Hussein and anti-government tribesmen who are fighting the government.

But on Thursday, security forces were still struggling to dislodge those who had taken control of Saddam’s home city of Tikrit, more than a week after launching a counter-offensive.

Salahuddin Governor Ahmed Abdullah Juburi said has said that troops and pro-government militiamen are “advancing slowly because all of the houses and burned vehicles have been rigged with explosives, and militants have deployed lots of roadside bombs and car bombs”.


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