Iraqi PM reiterates pledge to build national army to protect Iraq's unity

BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Saturday reaffirmed his government’s commitment to establishing a national army to protect the integrity of Iraq and the unity of its people.

“We confirm our continuation to build a strong national army that defends Iraq’s land and its citizens without exception and preserves the sovereignty of the state,” Abadi said in a statement marking the 97th anniversary of the Iraqi Army Day.

“We are building an army that belongs to a single and unified Iraq. It does not represent a certain party or a sect. Our heroic army fought a fierce war to save his people and his citizens and liberate his land from terrorism,” the statement said.

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The Iraqiya official television aired footage showing graduation ceremony on the anniversary for the Iraqi Collage of War in its military camp in Rustamiyah area southeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

On January 6, 1921, Iraq established its first battalion of the modern army by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I.

During the past three years, the Iraqi army with other security forces have fought fiercely against the Islamic State group and liberated all the Iraqi lands, which were seized by the extremist group in mid-2014 in northern and western Iraq.

The British government said in September that there were around 600 British soldiers on the ground in Iraq

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