*Nettavisen* Nyheter.

Norwegians forces return home July 5

Most of the Norwegian engineer soldiers in Iraq are scheduled to return home July 5, but the security situation may affect the departure, said Col. Thor Helge Moen.

If the security situation permits it, the main force of Norwegian engineer soldiers, about 120 soldiers, are scheduled to leave the Basra area on July 5. Approximately 20 soldiers will remain a couple of days in order to transport the heaviest equipment to a shipping dock. The Iraq force has also received assistance from back home to pack equipment.

«We are right on schedule,» said Moen, the leader of the Norwegian forces in Iraq, to TV 2 Nettavisen. «I think we have thought about everything.»

The departure date will be postponed in case the security situation is changed.

«We have added some flexibility,» Moen stated. «The security situation will decide on what we do.»

Moen added that he was very pleased with the Norwegian forces’ contribution to the coalition forces.

Attacked
The Norwegian soldiers had to seek cover Tuesday when their camp at the airport at Basra was attacked with mine throwers.

«Some mine throwers detonated about 3 kilometres away, but it landed within the base area,» Moen stated.

«I’m curious of the situation leading up to June 30,» Moen said. «It’s just getting worse and worse. April and May have been bad.»

Iraq stopped all export of oil Wednesday because of sabotage actions against several pipelines.

Staff officers
Norway will still have nine staff officers in Iraq after the other soldiers return home, but the officers who are currently there will be replaced with new personnel.

The soldiers who are going home will be welcomed at Rena with a dinner and a parade. Parents, siblings and lovers are invited to attend.

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