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RCMP temporarily suspends police training mission in Iraq
A RCMP cruiser is seen in this file photo.
OTTAWA -- The RCMP has temporarily suspended its training mission in Iraq, where 12 Canadian police officers had been deployed to support Iraq missions.
"The safety and security of Canada’s civilian police is of the utmost importance," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Caroline Duval said in an emailed statement.
The decision was attributed to the "current situation in Iraq," where tensions between the U.S. and Iran are exploding.
There was an Iranian missile attack on two bases in Iraq where American soldiers were stationed. The strikes, according to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
All Canadian forces were reported safe and accounted for following both attacks.
In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair's office, said Blair is "proud" of the work Canadians do overseas.
"Officer safety is a priority and the RCMP works to mitigate the risks officers face," Bardsley said.
"The minister is hopeful the situation in Iraq will evolve in a way that permits officers to resume their work."
The police training mission isn’t the first Canadian mission to be suspended in Iraq following the recent escalation of Iran-U.S. tensions. There are roughly 500 Canadians stationed in Iraq, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance, and they are a part of either the Canadian-led NATO mission or a mission called Operation Impact.
The Canadian led NATO mission in Iraq was temporarily suspended, and the some of the 500 Canadian soldiers station in Iraq are being moved to Kuwait.
"The RCMP, in consultation with our Canadian Police Arrangement and international coalition partners, constantly monitors and evaluates conditions and applies all reasonable mitigation efforts to ensure officer safety," Duval said.
With files from CTV’s Kevin Gallagher