Most of the Australian contingent's soldiers, who are taking part in the Iraqi war, are to return home in the near future. This was announced April 16 by Australia's Defence Minister Robert Hill.
This military conflict is going to end pretty soon; consequently, the Government of Australia has decided to considerably scale down its military presence on Iraqi territory, Hill stressed. The 2,000 Australian servicemen, who have accomplished most of their objectives, can now return home, Hill went on to say.
According to the relevant time-frame, the ANZAC and Darwin frigates, 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighters, the Australian navy's SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) group, as well as frog-men, who helped defuse mines in the Persian Gulf, are to return from the Middle East to Australia already this May. The Kanimbla amphibious transport ship, assault transport planes and a combat-engineer unit would be expected to arrive home in June.
At the same time, Australia intends to leave some of its soldiers and equipment behind in Iraq; these forces will remain there throughout the entire subsiding conflict and prior to the establishment of an interim coalition administration. The list of such forces includes the Sydney frigate, a special NBC (Nuclear, Bacteriological, Chemical) unit, two C-139 Hercules cargo aircraft, as well as two P-3-C Orion ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) and reconnaissance planes.
NATO's Boeing P-8 Poseidon was circling above the easternmost point of Romania at the time of the missile strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol