Bulgaria Short of Iraq Volunteers

Politics | March 17, 2004, Wednesday // 00:00

Some 200 military men have not been recruited yet for Bulgaria's third Iraq-bound unit.

No more than 280 troops have been approved to enter the unit so far, local Darik radio reported, citing sources from the Armed Forces General Staff.

The deadline for forming Bulgaria's third unit expired at the beginning of March.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mihail Popov has been appointed commander of the battalion by an order of Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov.

The preparation of the unit will be conducted by Colonel Petko Marinov, who headed the country's first unit deployed in Iraq.

Earlier in the day it emerged that a clause in the soldiers' contracts will deal with their agreement to participate in a mission abroad.

The proposal for such a move was tabled after seventy Bulgarian soldiers dropped out of Bulgaria's 480-strong replacement unit following the terror attack in the city of Karbala on 27 December last year.

The attack claimed the lives of five Bulgarian soldiers, the first fatalities of the country in Iraq.

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