RAAF staff set to stay put in Baghdad

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Defence Minister Robert Hill also ruled out yesterday an early return of the 80-strong Australian army detachment guarding Canberra’s diplomatic mission in the Iraqi capital.

About 65 RAAF air traffic controllers and air operations staff were due to return to Australia by mid-year after Iraqi civilians were installed in their place.

Baghdad airport remains a military airport, with air traffic control equipment being temporarily installed by the RAAF after the airport’s communications systems were destroyed during the war last year.