(Adds Iraqi denial)
DUBAI, July 3 Saudi Arabia deployed 30,000
soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers abandoned
the area, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television said on Thursday,
but Baghdad denied this and said the frontier remained under its
The world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia shares an 800-km
(500-mile) border with Iraq, where Islamic State insurgents and
other Sunni Muslim militant groups seized towns and cities in a
lightning advance last month.
King Abdullah has ordered all necessary measures to protect
the kingdom against potential "terrorist threats", state news
agency SPA reported on Thursday.
The U.S.-allied kingdom overcame its own al Qaeda insurgency
almost a decade ago and is wary of any encroaching new threat
from radical Sunni Islamists.
The Dubai-based al-Arabiya said on its website that Saudi
troops fanned into the border region after Iraqi government
forces withdrew from positions, leaving the Saudi and Syrian
The Iraqi prime minister's military spokesman denied the
forces had withdrawn. "This is false news aimed at affecting the
morale of our people and the morale of our heroic fighters,"
Lieutenant General Qassim Atta told reporters in Baghdad.
He said the frontier, which runs through largely empty
desert, was "fully in the grip" of Iraqi border troops.
The satellite channel said it had obtained a video showing
some 2,500 Iraqi soldiers in the desert region east of the Iraqi
city of Karbala after pulling back from the border.
An officer in the video aired by al-Arabiya said that the
soldiers had been ordered to quit their posts without
justification. The authenticity of the recording could not
immediately be verified.
(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)