Friday, August 01, 2003

Italian soldiers will be rotated from Iraq every four months to maintain their motivation, the head of the Italian armed forces said in an interview published on Friday.

''The forecast is that (troops) will be in the theatre of operations for four months before being replaced,'' General Giulio Fraticelli told La Repubblica daily.

''Which means that we need a lot of men. For every man in the field we need three at home preparing to relieve him. And now, with about 8,500 troops involved in international missions, we are almost at the limit of our capacity.''

Since Baghdad was seized by U.S.-led troops, Italy has sent 1,700 soldiers to Iraq. It also has more than 5,000 troops in the Balkan states and some 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.

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