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Iraq rejects entry of foreign ground troops

Iraq rejects entry of foreign ground troops

Baghdad: Iraqi Defence Minister Khalid al-Obiedi said Tuesday his country rejected the entry of foreign ground troops to fight against terrorism, stressing that the Iraqi army will be able to expel the Islamic State (IS) militant group from the country.

"The Iraqi government will not allow any foreign ground troops into Iraq to participate in the war against terrorism, and the ground operations will be managed exclusively by the Iraqi army," Xinhua quoted Obeidi as saying after a graduation ceremony for a group of Iraqi security forces in Dhi Qar, some 350km south of Baghdad.

He added that the international coalition launched many air strikes targeting the sites of IS militants in northern and western Iraq, "but the most influential strikes were carried out by the Iraqi air force".

Khalid al-Obiedi's statement was seen as a response to the remarks Monday from US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who said that his country may send ground troops to help Iraqi army to fight against the Sunni radical group if requested officially.

The security situation in Iraq began to drastically deteriorate since June 10 when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and hundreds of IS militants, who took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after the Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

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