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US to support fight on Al-Qaeda in Iraq without troops: Kerry

Published on Jan 5, 2014 4:04 PM

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - US Secretary of State John Kerry voiced confidence on Sunday the Iraqi government and tribes would be successful in their fight against Al-Qaeda, and said Washington was not considering sending troops back to Iraq.

Sectarian and ethnic tensions have risen in Iraq since the US withdrawal in December 2011, inflamed by the conflict in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni rebels are trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Shi'ite Iran.

The Iraqi army has joined forces with local tribesmen to battle Al-Qaeda, which has teamed up with groups of Syrian rebels to try to create across the Iraqi-Syrian border a state based on strict medieval Sunni Islamic practice.

"This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis ... We are not contemplating returning," Kerry told reporters during a visit to Israel.

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