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Friday, March 23, 2007

Fifteen British troops seized by Iranians in Iraqi waters

Fifteen British troops have been seized by Iran in Iraqi territorial waters. According to a British Defense Ministry statement, the British personnel from the frigate HMS Cornwall were "engaged in routine boarding operations of merchant shipping in Iraqi territorial waters," and had completed their inspection of a merchant ship when they were accosted by Iranian vessels.

"The British government is demanding the immediate and safe return of our people and equipment," the defense ministry said in a statement on the incident.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett summoned the Iranian ambassador to seek clarification over the incident.

An unnamed fisherman told al-Reuters that six or seven foreign military personnel were on two small boats in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that stopped to check Iranian ships in the Siban area, near the al-Faw peninsula that leads into the northern Gulf.

When they boarded one ship, at least two Iranian vessels appeared on the scene and the military personnel were detained.

There was no sign of any violent confrontation, he said.

The BBC is reporting that the troops were searching a ship that was suspected of smuggling cars. They did not cite a source.

ABC News is reporting that the troops have been taken to Iran. ABC notes that a similar incident took place in 2004 in international waters, and that the captured troops were released after a few days. This incident took place, as noted, in Iraqi territorial waters.


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Daniel Greenfield said...

when in doubt iran defaults to know it knows best, hostage taking


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