Iran blamed as militias step up Basra violence

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by poncho, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. poncho

    poncho
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    Tehran’s involvement may be linked to Britain’s hardening position on its nuclear programme

    THE violence that erupted on the streets of Basra yesterday was the result of a simmering struggle between British forces and the increasingly powerful Shia Muslim militias active in southern Iraq.

    Attention has been focused on the Sunni Muslim insurgency against US-led forces further north, yet the British have been facing a sharp rise in attacks from an increasingly sophisticated and deadly foe.

    There are strong suspicions that the bloodshed is being orchestrated with weapons and encouragement from Iran.

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    Meanwhile...


    Iraqi prison stormed by British tanks and helicopters

    British forces in tanks and helicopters stormed an Iraqi jail tonight to rescue two service personnel who were arrested after allegedly shooting dead a local policeman and wounding another, the governor of Basra said.

    The two men had been taken to the Basra jail after violence erupted earlier today in the southern Iraqi city.

    Photographs of the two – thought to be special forces officers – were taken and released to the media, showing them bandaged and bloody.

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    British Attack Basra Jail to Free Two

    BASRA, Iraq (AP) - British forces using tanks broke down the walls of the central jail in the southern city of Basra late Monday and freed two Britons, allegedly undercover commandos, who had been arrested on charges of shooting two Iraqi policemen.

    Witnesses said about 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled the jail.

    Violence flared earlier in the day as demonstrators hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at British tanks; at least four people were killed.

    The fighting erupted after British armor encircled the jail where the two Britons were being held. During the melee one soldier could be seen scrambling for his life from a burning tank and the rock-throwing mob.

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    Iraqi police detain two British soldiers in Basra

    BAGHDAD, Sept. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraqi police detained two British soldiers in civilian clothes in the southern city Basra for firing on a police station on Monday, police said.

    "Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers," an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

    The two soldiers were using a civilian car packed with explosives, the source said.

    He added that the two were being interrogated in the police headquarters of Basra.

    The British forces informed the Iraqi authorities that the two soldiers were performing an official duty, the source said. British military authorities said they could not confirm the incident but investigations were underway. Enditem

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    British vehicles crash into Basra jail

    Tensions between British forces and Shi'ites in southern Iraq are at a dangerous and chaotic low after British armoured forces smashed down a jail wall and freed two British undercover soldiers who had been arrested by Iraqi police.

    Iraqi authorities in the southern oil city of Basra claimed that British armoured vehicles demolished part of its main jail and snatched the two men - thought to be commandos in Arab clothing who allegedly fired on Iraqi police officers.

    Britain's Defence Ministry, though, said the two men were released as a result of negotiations. But it stopped short of denying that the jail had been raided.

    Whatever the truth, the incident was part of a chaotic day of rioting, in which at least two Iraqis were killed.

    The clashes raise questions about how much sovereignty Iraqi authorities have really been granted when the US-led Coalition Provision Authority handed over power to an interim Iraqi government in the northern summer of 2004.

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    Bloody confrontation in Basra

    BY TIMOTHY M. PHELPS
    WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF

    September 20, 2005

    WASHINGTON -- The British army battled Iraqi forces they trained themselves yesterday as anti-British violence broke out in Basra, the country's second-largest city.

    Early in the day, two British soldiers in civilian clothes were detained by Iraqi police after they were involved in a shoot-out in which at least one Iraqi policeman was reported killed.

    When negotiations over their release dragged on, the British surrounded the central police station with eight armored vehicles and smashed down the front door, rescuing their comrades, Iraqi officials said. Angry Iraqis set two of the vehicles on fire, forcing one British soldier to jump from the flames, news photographs showed. Three soldiers were hurt, Britain's Press Association reported.

    The British Ministry of Defense confirmed last night that the two detained soldiers had been released but would not confirm or deny that troops had assaulted the police station

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  2. KenH

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  3. poncho

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    British forces break soldiers out of Basra jail

    Pictures of riot Click here.

    At least half a dozen British tanks sensationally smashed through the walls of the Basra’s central jail tonight and freed two UK soldiers arrested earlier in the day after a lethal gunbattle with Iraqi policemen.
    The two men, said to be on an undercover intelligence mission, were sprung only hours after British forces had encircled the building but were forced to flee by a violent mob hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. Two Iraqi civilians were reportedly killed in the riots, during which two UK Warrior armoured vehicles were set alight.

    Aquil Jabbar, an Iraqi television cameraman who lives across the street from the jail, said about 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled as British commandos stormed inside and rescued their comrades.

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