Skip to comments.Daily Telegraph - UK: UK forces report 'incident' with Iran (British and American military seized)
Posted on 03/23/2007 5:36:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
The Iranian navy detained up to 15 British troops today in the Persian Gulf, a Pentagon official said.
The British military confirmed there was an incident in the Shatt al-Arab waterway in southern Iraq after Iraqi fishermen said they had seen several British and American military personnel being seized by an Iranian ship.
There has been an incident somewhere in the north of the Persian Gulf, British military spokesman Major David Gell said in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, but said he did not know whether British soldiers were involved.
An unnamed fisherman told the Reuters news agency that six or seven foreign military personnel were on two small boats 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 Ministry of Defence said it was investigating but could not confirm any of the reports.
Meanwhile, Iraqs Sunni deputy prime minister was wounded today in a suicide bombing near Baghdads heavily fortified Green Zone, authorities said.
The bomber blew himself up as Salam al-Zubaie, one of two deputies to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and other worshippers were leaving a mosque in the courtyard of his house.
Six people were killed in the blast.
Brigadier General Qassim Moussawi, spokesman for security in Baghdad, said Mr Zubaie was undergoing surgery and his condition was not stable so far.
American military kidnapped by Iran, too?
So says an Iraqi fisherman, who probably couldn't tell the difference between a U.S, U.K. or Chinese military uniform.
This sounds like step #1.
Apparently not. first reports were from Iraqis who were unsure of whether they were yanks or brits. Recent reports inidctate they were British sailors and Marines from the HMS Cornwall on an interdiction mission in or near the Persian Gulf's Shatt al Arab waterway.
Here's a bit from the Washington Post:
***Iran Nabs British Sailors in Iraq Waters......A Pentagon official said the Britons were in two inflatable boats from the frigate H.M.S. Cornwall during a routine smuggling investigation, said the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the incident.
He said the confrontation happened as the British contingent was traveling along the boundary of territorial waters between Iran and Iraq. They were detained by the Revolutionary Guard's navy, he said.
A fisherman who said he was with a group of Iraqis from the southern city of Basra fishing in Iraqi waters in the northern area of the Gulf said he saw the Iranian seizure. The fisherman declined to be identified because of security concerns.
"Two boats, each with a crew of six to eight multinational forces, were searching Iraqi and Iranian boats Friday morning in Ras al-Beesha area in the northern entrance of the Arab Gulf, but big Iranian boats came and took the two boats with their crews to the Iranian waters."
The Britain government said it had demanded "the immediate and safe return of our people and equipment."....*** http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032300574.html
Time to gas up!
Some reports say the boats held multinational forces.
Iranians taking hostages. What a new and fresh idea! /sarc
Thanks for the LINK backhoe.
Alright, What was the frigate H.M.S. Cornwall doing while their crew was being captured?
Washington Post adjusted their story:
Friday, March 23, 2007; 8:52 AM
The Iranian military seized 15 British naval personnel in the waters off Iraq early this morning, the British Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
The British sailors were conducting what were described as "routine boarding operations" of a merchant marine vessel when they were surrounded by Iranian military boats and escorted into Iranian waters.
The British boarding operation, according to the ministry's statement, was authorized under a United Nations resolution and supported by the government of Iraq.
Iraqi waters and the Persian Gulf in general are monitored closely for smuggling by the U.S. and coalition forces. The area's complicated geography, particularly the narrow Shatt al-Arab waterway shared by Iran and Iraq, has been a source of repeated tension.
U.K. officials said they were "urgently" pursuing the issue with the Iranian government and had summoned the Iranian ambassador to the British Foreign Office.
"The British Government is demanding the immediate and safe return of our people and equipment," the Ministry of Defence statement said.
Tension between Iran and the west has been rising in recent months as Tehran pursued an uranium enrichment program despite United Nations demands that it be stopped.
In addition, the U.S. has accused elements of the Iranian government of supporting sectarian violence in Iraq and supplying insurgents with explosives. Several Iranian personnel have been taken into custody in U.S. raids.
UK to Iran: here is the deal, old chap; return our people unharmed within the day, or lose all your naval bases tonight!
I like that -- Get the U.S. and U.K out of Iraq . . . and into Iran.
Time for Iraq to declare war against Iran.
I wonder if any of this will get Labor jazzed up. Or will they just blame it all on GWBs policies and Britain's willingness to follow?
I have a feeling this will make British citizens very mad.
Additional reporting from the Daily Telegraph:
***....It is not the first time that British servicemen have been taken captive by Iran in the waters between Iran and Iraq.
Six Royal Marines and two Royal Navy sailors were detained in July 2004 after their patrol boats were said to have strayed into the Iranian side of the Shatt al-Arab waterway sailors sparked a tense stand-off.
The men were blindfolded and held for three days during which they were paraded on Iranian TV. ....***
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