Estonian Defence Forces training team arrive in Kuwait
A six-member training team of the Estonian Defence Forces serving in Iraq were moved to Kuwait on Thursday afternoon, as a result all Estonians serving in the country have now been evacuated.
The team were based at the U.S.'s Al-Assad Air Base, but were not present when missiles were fired at the base by Iran on Tuesday night. Their role was to help train security forces.
On Wednesday, Col. Tõnu Miil, a senior colonel of the Estonian Iraqi contingent, was also moved to Kuwait. He is a senior staff officer with Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and was previously based in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
Miil was moved to Kuwait overnight on Tuesday and the headquarters of the OIR will be reestablished there.
The Estonian Defence Force is participating in the US-led international military operation Inherent Resolve with a six-member training team and one senior officer in an international military-strategic team advising Iraqi ministries and security forces.
Tensions between Iran, Iraq, and the US have risen in the region following the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani by the US on Friday.
Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force foreign operations arm, was killed in a US drone attack in Baghdad, Iraq.
The strike also killed the deputy head of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi, a network of mostly Shiite factions close to Iran and incorporated into the Baghdad government's security forces.
On Sunday NATO said it would suspend some of its activities in the region.
The purpose of the Inherent Resolve is direct and support military action against Daesh (ISIS), and by participating in the operation, Estonia is increasing the security of Europe and NATO, the Ministry of Defence said.
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Editor: Helen Wright