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Iraqi PM "Totally" Opposes Arab Nations' Involvement In Airstrikes In Iraq

Haider al-Abadi said he is against Arab states in the international coalition against ISIS joining airstrikes in the country.

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he is "totally" opposed to Arab nations conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in his country during an interview with the BBC.

Pool / Reuters

Abadi said warplanes from a U.S.-led coalition had "filled many gaps" in Iraq's battle against ISIS fighters.

Arab states Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan joined the international alliance against the jihadi group, but so far have only been involved in strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

Forces from the U.S., France, and the U.K. carried out the 230 strikes that have so far been conducted in Iraq.

In the interview, he said Iraq's armed forces would be able to defeat ISIS "if we have good air cover".

However, he stressed that no foreign troops were needed on the ground. He said: "We are very clear we will not accept any troops on ground except Iraqi troops."

Abadi became the prime minister of Iraq last month with the aim of creating an inclusive government containing representatives from all the country's ethnic groups.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at

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