Israeli counter-terror command warns nationals to leave Iraq

Special to World
Monday, December 13, 2004

JERUSALEM Israel has called on nationals to leave Iraq immediately.

Israeli officials said Israelis in Iraq were deemed to be in danger of abduction and death. They said an undetermined number of Israelis were in Baghdad as well as in northern Iraq.

On Sunday, the government's Counter-Terrorism Command issued a warning against Israeli travel to Iraq. In the first such acknowledgement, the unit also called on Israelis to leave Iraq immediately.

Arab diplomatic sources have asserted that scores of Israelis were providing services and training to Kurdish militias in northern Iraq. The sources said Israelis have also been engaged in business ventures with Kurdish companies and transporting goods to and from Iraq.

The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot said eight Israeli construction consultants have been working in Iraq over the last few months. The newspaper said the consultants -- said to be experts in restoring damaged structures -- were hired by the United States.

The Israeli presence in northern Iraq was said to have numbered more than 100 in 2003. But most of the Israelis were said to have left the area amid the Sunni uprising that spread to Kurdish-dominated cities over the last year.

Israeli officials said Israelis have also been touring northern Iraq over the last year. In most cases, the Israelis arrived in Iraq from Turkey.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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