Armed US Drones Flying Over Iraq

BBC – Armed US drones are flying over Iraq to protect American military advisers on the ground, say officials.

Their role is “force protection” of US assessment teams helping Iraqi security forces repel militants now running large parts of the country.

They are supporting other manned and unmanned aircraft making 30-40 surveillance missions each day.

The news comes as Iraq’s most influential Shia cleric called for a prime minister to be appointed soon.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani said that key government positions should be agreed by the time the new parliament meets on Tuesday.

There have been calls inside and outside Iraq for a national unity government but the various political factions have been unable to reach a deal.

Large parts of Iraq were seized by Sunni militants earlier this month.

On Friday, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said: “We continue to fly manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq at the Iraqis’ request.

“Some of those are armed. The reason they are is for force protection measures because we have advisors there. Primary reason is for force protection purposes”.

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