Denmark pulls its small air force contingent out of southern Iraq

Denmark is pulling its four helicopters and small air force staff out of southern Iraq this week, the defense minister said Wednesday, adding the Iraqis will take over the Danes' support role to the British military. "The four helicopters have done a great job," Defense Minister Soeren Gade said. "Their excellent job will now be taken over by the Iraqis themselves who will help the Brits." Denmark replaced its 460-member army contingent with a small air force unit in late July. The 55-member squad was stationed near Basra for a six-month period as airborne support for patrolling British ground forces. "The helicopters had equipment that could spot people who put roadside bombs which made the (insurgents) very nervous," Gade told The Associated Press. "The number of roadside bombs have dropped dramatically."