Latvian soldiers come under fire in Iraq

Latvian soldiers in southern Iraq have come under fire twice in the past week, but no casualties have been reported, according to official and media sources.

A motorized Latvian patrol came under fire early in the morning of April 7 as the soldiers returned to their base at Al Hillah from patrolling near Kifla. The soldiers returned fire and retreated to their base, a report posted on the National Armed Forces Web site said.

In a telephone conversation from Iraq with Defense Minister Atis Slakteris, Lt. Col. Igors Rajevs said the situation had stabilized, according to the report.

But Latvian soldiers again came under fire April 11 and again returned fire as they retreated to their base, the news agency LETA reported.

More than 100 Latvian soldiers are serving in Iraq, attached to a multinational division commanded by Poland and based at Al Hillah. Latvian soldiers also are serving in foreign missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Georgia and Kosovo, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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