US moves to improve northern Iraq security

23 April 2003
US forces on 22 April moved to increase stability in northern Iraq, sending a further 5,000 troops into Mosul and arranging a ceasefire with the armed Iranian opposition group, the Mojaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).

Mosul has been the scene of unrest since the collapse of Baathist authority on 11 April, although the problem has been lawlessness more than ethnic violence: Kurds and Arabs have typically enjoyed good relations in the city, which saw little of the Arabisation imposed by Saddam Hussein's regime in Kirkuk. US forces shot dead a number of Iraqis during a demonstration on 16 April.

MEK forces in Iraq number about 1,000 troops, equipped by the Baathist regime and used by it for security operations. US Brigadier-General Vince Brooks said at briefing that after some encounters between US and MEK forces, some of the latter were in 'assembly areas -in non-combat formation'.

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