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British forces free SAS men


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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 - reported  to be SAS commandos in Arab clothing who allegedly fired on Iraqi police officers yesterday.

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.

It's not clear what effect it might have on the work of Australian troops protecting Japanese forces in the city of Samawah, north-west of Basra.

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Outside Basra jail, a melee broke out in the streets as angry demonstrators attacked the encircling British armour with stones and Molotov cocktails.

During the chaos, one British soldier could be seen scrambling for his life from a burning Warrior armoured personnel carrier and the rock-throwing mob.

Press Association, the British news agency, reported that three British soldiers were hurt during the violence, but said none of their injuries was life-threatening.

After nightfall, 10 British armoured vehicles returned to the jail, crashed through walls and freed the two captives, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw the vehicles smash into the jail.

While witnesses and officials said the British raid used "tanks," it was not clear whether the tracked vehicles were Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks or Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles, both in use by British forces in Iraq.

The arrests of the two British soldiers yesterday appeared to have been the first real and public test of how far that sovereignty extends.

There have been no known incidents of Iraqi authorities arresting US soldiers operating in the Iraqi heartland.

Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of Basra province, condemned the British for raiding the prison, an act he called "barbaric, savage and irresponsible".

"A British force of more than 10 tanks backed by helicopters attacked the central jail and destroyed it. This is an irresponsible act," al-Waili said, adding that the British force had spirited the prisoners away to an unknown location.

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

While the Shi'ite-dominated south of Iraq, where 8,500 British troops are based, has been far quieter than US-patrolled Sunni regions to the north, Britons have come under increasingly frequent attacks in recent weeks.

The British military has reported 96 deaths since the war began in 2003.

That compares with the deaths of 1,899 Americans elsewhere.

Basra authorities reported arresting the two Britons, described as special forces commandos dressed in Arab clothing, for allegedly shooting two Iraqi policemen, one of whom died.

British armour then encircled the jail where the two Britons were held.

Television cameramen from Arab satellite broadcasters in the Persian Gulf were allowed to photograph the two men, who appeared to be Westerners and who were by that time sitting on the floor in the jail in blue jeans and T-shirts, their hands tied behind their backs.

One of the men had a bandage covering most of the top of his head, the other had blood on his clothes. Television commentary identified them only as Britons.

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A British soldier prepares to jump from a burning Warrior vehicle in Basra after angry crowds attacked it with petrol bombs and rocks yesterday.

:blink:

Anyone shed more light on this?

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to be fair on the local police the men were wearing civilain clothes in a car that contained guns and explosives but soon as they were flagged as being brits they should have been turned over into out custody... also the MOD says the wall was accidentially knocked over while positioning the vehicle

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I saw the news on BBC and CNN.

Aside from the 'firing on Iraqi police' news, nothing else is known about the case. A clear version of events must wait until an official press release.

What I wanted to say is this:

I saw the Warrior being pelted by rocks and incindiery bombs. I kept wondering, "They are in grave danger. Why aren't they firing??"

The incident demonstrates considerable restraint on the part of British Forces. It also shows considerable spirit of professionalism. I must also point out that the vehicle crewmen were very brave, in which they choose to abandon their burning vehicle, risking life and limbs in doing so, rather than opening up on a crowd of violent demonstrators.

Cheers for the brits.

Out.

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I saw the Warrior being pelted by rocks and incindiery bombs. I kept wondering, "They are in grave danger. Why aren't they firing??"

The incident demonstrates considerable restraint on the part of British Forces. It also shows considerable spirit of professionalism. I must also point out that the vehicle crewmen were very brave, in which they choose to abandon their burning vehicle, risking life and limbs in doing so, rather than opening up on a crowd of violent demonstrators.

Cheers for the brits.

Out.

I have to agree with you on that point.

Not to mention that these are probably the same people that are supporting the terrorist bombings in the Sunni portions of the country. It was only a matter of time before this would happen.

I wonder what the REAL story is behind all of this.

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http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/20050919/...G=home&SEC=news

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-09/...ent_3514065.htm

http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Britis...ash-into-Basra-

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wo...dnews-headlines

"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,"
- hmmm, interesting mr holmes.

Various sources (always clearer than one).

Edited by calius
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"During the morning two British soldiers were detained at the Jamiat Police Station in Basra.  Under Iraqi law, as MNF soldiers, they should have been handed over to the Coalition authorities.  The Consul-General and I asked repeatedly for this but it did not happen.

"During the day we went to exhaustive lengths to achieve the hand-over of the soldiers.  And in fact, as a result, we understand that the Iraqi Interior Minister personally ordered the release of the soldiers.  However, that order seems to have been ignored.

"From an early stage, I had good reason to believe that the lives of the two soldiers were at risk and troops were sent to the area of Basra near the police station to help ensure their safety by providing a cordon.  As shown on television, these troops were attacked with fire-bombs and rockets by a violent and determined crowd.

"Later in the day, however, I became more concerned about the safety of the two soldiers after we received information that they had been handed over to militia elements.  As a result I took the difficult decision to order entry to the Jamiat police station.  By taking this action we were able to confirm that the soldiers were no longer being held by the IPS.  An operation was then mounted to rescue them from a house in Basra.

"I am delighted that the two British soldiers are back with British Forces and are in good health.  We will be following up with the authorities in Basra why the soldiers were not immediately handed over to MNF as Iraqi law (CPA Order 17) says that they should have been.

"I should put the scale of yesterday's disorder into context.  British armoured vehicles being attacked by a violent crowd, including with petrol bombs, makes graphic television viewing.  But this was a small unrepresentative crowd (200-300) in a city of 1.5 million.  The vast majority of Iraqi people in MND(SE) are law abiding and value the contribution made by coalition forces to  maintaining stability and security.

"Minor damage was caused to the prison compound wall and to the house in which our two soldiers were held.

"It is of deep concern that British soldiers held by the police should end up being held by militia.  This is unacceptable and I should stress that we won’t hesitate to take action against those who are involved in planning and conducting attacks against coalition forces.

"Looking ahead, I should stress that the situation in Basra is now calm.  We will continue to work closely with local authorities to maintain this calm, and with the Iraqi Security Forces who capabilities we are helping to develop.  It was a difficult day yesterday, but we have put this behind us and will move on."

Brigadier John Lorimer,

Commander of 12 Mechanized Brigade

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r2128826547.jpg

A grab from footage released on September 20, 2005 shows two undercover British soldiers filmed by Iraqi police after their arrest in Basra, southern Iraq, September 19, 2005. REUTERS/Al-Iraqiya via Reuters television.

2005_09_20t104638_450x364_us_iraq.jpg

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2005_09_20t104605_450x367_us_iraq.jpg

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A grab from footage released on September 20, 2005 shows weapons which Iraqi police said were confiscated from two undercover British soldiers after their arrest in Basra, southern Iraq, September 19, 2005. Britain sent in troops to free the two soldiers after discovering they had been handed over by Iraqi police to local militia, the army said on Tuesday. IRAQ OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE REUTERS/Al-Iraqiya via Reuters television.
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sounds like a very gutsy decision by the bloke in charge, well played to him.

iraq needs to start uprooting the infiltrators in their security forces, some of which will have undoubtebly been involved in handing them over to the militia.

its a testament to the quality of soldiers that the army has that they didnt return fire on that crowd.

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I was watching the news last night, and they played a recording from the british commander in Basra (or some such high ranking officer).

He said:

Legally the troops should have been handed over to the british army asap, according to both london and baghdad.

He felt that the troops were in danger of being handed over to militia forces.

The APC's were at the prison to defend it, thus keeping the troops safe. Thats where the riots were, BEFORE the jailbreak occured.

When he felt that negotians for their transfer were going no where, he ordered the APC's to return and get the troops out.

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I just wonder why (before the capture and the prison part) our SAS were driving around shooting at local iraq police dressed in wigs and turbans.

PLenty of coverage regarding the rescue and also about how they shoud have been handed back ... no one seems to be looking at what started all this of the first place ... many quesions need to be answered before I will celebrate a triumphant rescue ... its all a bit odd to me .. :huh:

:(

Edited by calius
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Perhaps they were some of the militants who, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry have infiltrated the Police in the South of the Country.

All I know is if any of my kids join the army I want people like John Lorimer in charge.

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the story ive heard so far is that sas guys were on an undercover recee and thought the people at the checkpoint were millitants so they drove through and returned fire after being shot at.

the armed forces needs more people like John Lorimer

Edited by babydave
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http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?con...0&articleId=972

Still being questioned all over the net at the moment.

Truth is we will never know exactly what went down (refering to before they were captured and what they were doing precisely), I personnaly am not sold either way untill more details come to light, the all hail the brit officers isnt making me jump for joy, we shouldnt be there anyway .. thats another story.

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lol a booby trapped car? sas using suicide tactics all of a sudden? :sheep:

they were wearing headscarfs etc to blend in. 2 white guys in a car in basra wearing suits isnt exactly inconspicuous now is it :) the ING and coalition are on the same side and so there should have been no need for any 'questioning'....but when half the police are probably insurgents you never know

essentially the ING had no right to keep them once they knew they were british and the people in charge did (supposedly) ask repeatedly for them to be handed back. the iraqi government asked for them to be handed back but it didnt happen.

Truth is we will never know exactly what went down

probably not but i wouldnt believe for a second that 2 sas soldiers with no backup in one of the most dangerous parts of the world would start shooting at police for the fun of it ;) whats far more likely is that some 2 bit iraqis provoked them

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the all hail the brit officers isnt making me jump for joy, we shouldnt be there anyway .. thats another story.

Bit confused here, the presence of British forces in Iraq is the result of a POLITICAL decision.

The safe rescue of 2 of our soldiers from the hands of the militia was the result of strong MILITARY leadership.

Officers who are prepared to make decisions like this to safe guard our forces are worth their weight in gold IMHO

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I meant the focus was purely "we saved them" look at the bad iraqi's getting angry etc.

Political descisions arent always correct BTW. Then again as the top strap line in red does say no political discussions so shhhhhhh on that one.

Fair anough, my point is just simply the other side of the coin, why were our men there dressed up like arabs firing at iraq police?

Im not taking sides, im just looking at both sides of the story.

Edited by calius
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Fair anough, my point is just simply the other side of the coin, why were our men there dressed up like arabs firing at iraq police?

I take it you are not Suggesting that the two soldiers in the car decided to take unprovoked pot-shots at the Iraq police?

a more Pertinent question might be why where these two soldiers handed over to the militia despite clear orders from government level to hand the back to the British forces?

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Fair anough, my point is just simply the other side of the coin, why were our men there dressed up like arabs firing at iraq police?

I take it you are not Suggesting that the two soldiers in the car decided to take unprovoked pot-shots at the Iraq police?

a more Pertinent question might be why where these two soldiers handed over to the militia despite clear orders from government level to hand the back to the British forces?

(Note Mods- Hopefully this is not too Political- just seems relevant)

The AO around Basra and Samawah where the Aussies are based alongside the Royal Dragoons is heavily Shiate area. Of late there has been an undercurrent of Radical Shia Members Politicians forcing out more moderate Shia.

Muqtada al-Sadr has been behind a lot of what has been happening. Based on whats been happening with various positions being taken over by sympathisers and outright Al Sadr supporters Zero Alphas Comments are spot on. There was a Joruno who recently began to show whats was happening in the area- he turned up murdered. Actually reading Masters of Chaos it divulged early problems with Al Sadr very early on in the piece. Independence for the Iraqi people is all well and good but for the Brits, Aussies, Japanese and US Forces (sure may have missed some contingents) the uprise in Radical Shia influence is worrying- won't take much to set it off. Lets hope the military leaders continue to support there squaddies, Diggers and put their safety before being Politically correct and warm and fuzzy TV Imagery. Ostrich behaviour is not what is needed.

Thats the problem not whether two Brit Soldiers where in Civilian Garb. Wouldn't totally surprise me if they were gaining intel of goings on in Basra and the environs.

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the uprise in Radical Shia influence is worrying- won't take much to set it off. Lets hope the military leaders continue to support there squaddies, Diggers and put their safety before being Politically correct and warm and fuzzy TV Imagery. Ostrich behaviour is not what is needed.

Thanks Gordo, thats my point exactly, in my experience politicians Know just enough to put the armed forces in Harms way, in the absence of strong military leadership it’s a short walk to a bad day out!

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Some of you guys are pretty close,some are so far off the track a GPS couldn't help you!!

Guys Covert Ops have been using low profile tactics since it's concept,don't jump to conclusions,and there are PSD contractors like me,who have been using the same profiles ALL OVER IRAQ,including places such as Fallujah,so stop getting carried away with romantic notions!!

There was nothing sinister with this mission,until the guys were approached by armed men in civilian uniform,under their ROE's they took what actions were neccesary to avoid being compromised,however these armed men turned out to be Corrupt Cops!

How can I say this,because it's fact that 60% maybe more of the Basra cops are also Militia,tensions are getting very high down here in the South,a few days ago there was an incident involving PSD's,along the same lines as the Brit Guys,but thanks to the Danes who were providing QRF and serious incident was avoided!!!

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