Saudi Arabia has strengthened its defences on its border with Iraq, deploying 30,000 soldiers, after Iraqi troops withdrew from the area, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday.
The world’s top oil exporter shares an 800-km (500-mile) border with neighbour Iraq, where militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and other Sunni Muslim groups have seized towns and cities in a lightning advance that began last month.
King Abdullah has ordered all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against potential “terrorist threats”, the state news agency SPA said on Thursday.
The Dubai-based al-Arabiya said on its website that Saudi troops fanned across the border region after Iraqi government forces abandoned positions, leaving the Saudi and Syrian frontiers unprotected.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s military spokesman has denied, however, that Iraqi soldiers had retreated from the border with Saudi Arabia.
“This is false news aimed at affecting the morale of our people and the morale of our heroic fighters,” the spokesman, Lieutenant General Qassim Atta, told reporters in Baghdad.
He added that the frontier was “fully in the grip” of Iraqi border troops.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-07-03