LIMA (AFP) - Between 30,000 and 50,000 mercenaries are working in Iraq, making them the second largest military force there after the occupying United States.
The case of Iraq "is a new manifestation of the use of mercenaries that has caughts the US by surprise", Spain's Jose Luis Gomez del Prado -- a member of the UN working group on mercenaries -- said Fridayduring a visit to Peru.
The United States has 130,000 soldiers in Iraq, he noted. Britain has 10,000 troops.
Gomez del Prado told a news conference thousands of Peruvians, Chileans, Colombians, Hondurans and Ecuadorans had been contracted to work as mercenaries in Iraq, thanks to an array of legal loopholes.