Bulgaria withdrawing troops from Iraq

SOFIA, Bulgaria, May 4 (UPI) -- Bulgaria plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq, Defense Minister Veselin Bliznakov said in Sofia Friday.

Bliznakov told the Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, Bulgaria plans to withdraw its troops from the U.S.-led multinational force.


About 120 Bulgarian troops have been monitoring the Ashraf refugee camp 25 miles north of Baghdad.

KUNA didn't report a reason for Bulgaria's withdrawal. It said Bliznakov had just returned from Iraq where he visited Bulgarian troops and met with a deputy commander of the multinational force to review their work.

Bulgaria withdrew its combat troops from Iraq in December 2005 amid strong public opposition to the war. Thirteen troops and six Bulgarian civilians have died in Iraq since Bulgaria sent its 400 troops to Iraq in 2003, the BBC reported.

In February 2006, Bulgaria agreed to send 120 soldiers and 34 support staff to Iraq to guard the refugee camp.

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