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Kiwi troops in Iraq 'could be executed' by ISIS - expert

New Zealand troops in Iraq are in danger of being executed by Islamic State fighters, an international law professor says.

Iraqi forces lost the city of Ramadi to ISIS around two weeks ago. Ramadi is just over 90km from Taji where 143 New Zealand troops are based.

Professor Al Gillespie told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning the Kiwi troops are at risk from ISIS.

This assessment is at odds with Prime Minister John Key's assertion this week the ISIS advance isn't putting the New Zealand troops in danger.

"The risk is if ISIS get through to our soldiers they could be executed," Mr Gillespie said.

"There's no crime ISIS hasn't committed. Rape, execution of prisoners, looting - it's all there. There's nothing they haven't done."

Mr Gillespie says it's becoming more likely Western group troops will be deployed in Iraq.

Currently the New Zealand troops in Iraq are only tasked with training Iraqi Army troops.

But if the United States decide to deploy ground troops to fight ISIS, Mr Gillespie believes it's likely New Zealand will be asked to contribute fighting troops as well.

Earlier this week Mr Key was asked if there was an exit strategy for New Zealand troops.

He said there are early warnings situations that determine whether things need to be reviewed and at this point those warnings have not been triggered.

International law expert Al Gillespie says ISIS will kill NZ troops if the terrorist group reaches their location. He also says it's unfair to call the Iraqi army cowards for running away. Source: Breakfast


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