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  Huge aircraft carrier Ark Royal sails for Iraq
Updated 11 February 2003, 08.51
The Ark Royal is on its way to the Gulf
Aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal began sailing to Iraq on Saturday, in Britain's biggest fleet of naval ships for two decades.

The 20,000 tonne ship will be joined by 15 other surface vessels and a submarine as it sails to Malaysia for a training exercise in June, but they're all going to waters near Iraq first.

By sending the ships to the Gulf (the part of the Middle East where Iraq is) the Ministry of defence will have the option of using them if any military action against Iraq happens.

Angela Scales, 18, is the youngest person on board
Angela Scales, 18, is the youngest person on board
The Ark Royal is going to be used as a helicopter carrier at first, which will give the Navy a way of getting soldiers like the Royal Marines on the ground very quickly.

It's not just the UK who are sending soldiers to the area, the US have ordered 35,000 troops to the Gulf, giving America around 120,000 troops in the area.

They're going to be doing any fighting yet, but are being used to make sure Iraq doesn't misbehave and lets UN weapons inspectors do their job.

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