May 14, 2019 / 4:05 PM / 2 months ago

British general declines to restate remarks on Iran-backed militia threat

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) - A senior British officer in the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would not reiterate that he perceived no increased threat from an Iran-backed militia, when reporters pressed him about remarks he had made moments earlier at a Pentagon news briefing on Tuesday.

British Major General Chris Ghika, the coalition’s deputy commander for strategy and information, did not retract his remarks but also declined to reaffirm them. Minutes earlier, he declared that “there has been no increased threat.”

He denied his remarks represented a split with Washington, which sees a growing threat from Iran and its proxy forces.

“There are a range of Iranian-backed forces ... So it is very difficult to start to delineate between them,” Ghika said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by David Gregorio)

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