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S. Korea closely watching Middle East developments after Iran's rocket attack

All News 12:25 January 08, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has been closely watching developments in the Middle East after Iran launched strikes on U.S. troops in Iraq, while preparing for measures to ensure the safety of its troops and citizens in the region, officials said Wednesday.

Early Wednesday, Iran fired missiles targeting two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike last week that killed a top Iranian general.

"We have been exchanging related information with the U.S. defense department," a ministry official said. "We have kept a close tab on how things will go down the road."

The government has also been working to grasp the possible requirement of military equipment to protect and, if necessary, bring home its citizens residing in the highly volatile region, according to the official.

The military also called for the strengthening of safety measures and tightening vigilance for its troops stationed in the Middle East, another military officer noted.

Currently, South Korea deploys around 450 troops in the Middle East for peacekeeping missions -- around 300 service personnel affiliated with the Dongmyeong Unit in Lebanon, and 150 troops in the Akh Unit in the United Arab Emirates. Across the globe, it deploys more than 1,000 troops in 12 countries for reconstruction, armistice monitoring and other peacekeeping missions.

This Reuters image taken from a video shot on Jan. 8, 2020, shows an explosion following missiles landing at what is believed to be Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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