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  Thousands of UK soldiers sent to Gulf
Updated 20 January 2003, 20.25
British troops board the HMS Ocean
Up to 31,000 soldiers are being sent to the Gulf as the possibility of war with Iraq looms.

This is a huge number of troops for the UK to send.

The last time that many soldiers were sent out was in the Gulf War of 1990.

There's already 100,000 US troops in the Gulf.

Not necessarily a war

It's the biggest step the British Government has taken so far to prepare for a possible war with Iraq.

Fact File
What is being sent to the Gulf?
26,000 ground troops
5,000 service troops
The Desert Rats
6,000 front-line combat troops
120 Challenger 2 battle tanks
150 Warrior armoured personnel carriers

HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier, and the helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, are already on their way to the Gulf.

Time running out

Britain and America think the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, has got secret weapons of war hidden in Iraq, which he could use against them if he's not stopped.

But Britain's defence boss, Geoff Hoon, said the troops going out did not necessarily mean there would be a war.

However, the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said that time was running out for Saddam. He said he must agree to what the UK and the US wanted, or face the possibility of war.

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PicturesPix of the protests against war
Find OutFind out about Iraq
ChatYour comments about going to war with Iraq
VoteShould there be a war with Iraq?
ClubBombing Iraq won't solve anything

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Thousands in global protests against Iraq war
Inspectors find weapons evidence in Iraq
Peace with Iraq still possible, says Blair
Huge aircraft carrier Ark Royal sails for Iraq

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