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Posted: 6/26/2003 10:59:51 AM EDT
[url=news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3018558.stm]Soldiers inquiry 'will take days'[/url] The investigation into the deaths of six British soldiers in southern Iraq will take days, the Ministry of Defence has said. The men, all members of the Royal Military Police, were shot in a village near Amara, on Tuesday. [b]It is unclear what happened, although local residents said the killing was by civilians unhappy with the way homes were being searched for weapons.[/b] It is the heaviest single hostile combat loss for British forces since the 1991 Gulf War, and could prompt a rethink of military tactics. There are 14,000 British forces patrolling parts of Iraq in the aftermath of April's conflict, but "thousands" more could be sent if necessary, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said. A senior British officer described the attack as "unprovoked murder". A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said there were no surviving British personnel to give accounts of the attack. "We are aware of the differing reports and we are trying to find all these [Iraqi] witnesses," he added. "We are having to build a picture of what happened and the whole sequence of events. "People are working very hard on this and hopefully it will become clearer but that could take a few days." [b]Local Iraqi residents told BBC correspondent Clive Myrie they were angry at the way soldiers were searching their houses for weapons.[/b] He said "scores" of Iraqis had stormed the local police station, killing the British servicemen and then torching the room they made a stand in. Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie McCourt said: "The enemies of peace have claimed the UK forces are conducting violent searches of Arab homes and have not respected property. This is simply not true." He later told the Reuters news agency: "This attack was unprovoked. It was murder." One local community leader told the BBC that in recent days troops had ignored a written agreement to give adequate notice before they searched homes for weapons. The community leader said hundreds of people had protested in front of the local police station on Tuesday. The soldiers fired shots and the crowd fired back before attacking the building he claimed. Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Commons tension between British troops and Iraqis reluctant to disarm could have led to the killings. He paid tribute to the dead soldiers, saying they had been doing "an extraordinary and heroic job trying to provide a normal and decent life for people in Iraq". The six soldiers were among a contingent of officers sent to the country to help rebuild its police force. All of the dead belonged to 156 Provost Company, part of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester. Their bodies were found at a police station in Majar al-Kabir, about 100 miles north of Basra. Some reports said up to four Iraqis were also killed. In a separate attack in the same area, seven British soldiers were injured when their helicopter came under fire. Two of the casualties were seriously injured. Mr Hoon told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there were "many thousands" of troops which could be sent to Iraq if deemed necessary.
Link Posted: 6/26/2003 11:25:36 AM EDT
When all else fails ban & confiscate.
Link Posted: 6/26/2003 11:27:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/26/2003 11:29:49 AM EDT by markl32]
Looks like the Iraqis got the “from my cold dead hands” memo.
Link Posted: 6/26/2003 11:47:01 AM EDT
I posted this yesterday. They Brits took a perfectly quiet area where their had been no hostile action for two months and pissed them off and got six men killed. Because the British command chose to treat the area like they were back home and confiscate all guns. They MIGHT actually have gotten away with it if the Iraqis hadn't found out that the Americans had only ordered crew served weapons and explosives to be seized. Not rifles and handguns. Oh, there were also complaints that the local UK commander in this area was refusing to send out female soldiers in the search parties. So the searching of women and womens rooms was being done by men. Big no no in islamic countries. And one we have been careful to avoid by sending female soldiers and Marines from the MPs out with the infantry every time they do one of these neighborhood or house sweeps.
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