Middle East Press Reports on the British “Undercover Soldiers”

US-UK occupation involved in "armed operations against civilians and places of worship"

In-depth Report:

Text of report 

Syrian TV (Arabic), 19 September 2005

[Newsreader Nidal Zaghbur] Ten Iraqis – seven police commandos, two civilians and a child – were killed and more than 10 others wounded in the explosion of two car bombs near two checkpoints in Al-Mahmudiyah and Al-Latifiyah south of Baghdad while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were heading towards the city of Karbala to mark the anniversary of a religious event.

And in a significant incident in the city of Basra, which is also marking the same religious event, Iraqi demonstrators set fire to two British tanks near a police station after Iraqi police had arrested two British soldiers disguised in civilian clothes for opening fire on police. Eight armoured British vehicles surrounded the police station before the eruption of the confrontations. A policeman at the scene said the two detained Britons were wearing traditional Iraqi jallabahs [loose cloaks] and wigs.

For more details about this development in Basra, we have on the line with us our correspondent in Baghdad Ziyad al-Munajjid. Ziyad, good evening.

[Al-Munajjid] Good evening, Nidal.

[Zaghbur] What are the dimensions of this incident in light of the increasing operations against civilians and places of worship to create sedition among the Iraqis?

[Al-Munajjid] In fact, Nidal, this incident gave answers to questions and suspicions that were lacking evidence about the participation of the occupation in some armed operations in Iraq. Many analysts and observers here had suspicions that the occupation was involved in some armed operations against civilians and places of worship and in the killing of scientists. But those were only suspicions that lacked proof. The proof came today through the arrest of the two British soldiers while they were planting explosives in one of the Basra streets. This proves, according to observers, that the occupation is not far from many operations that seek to sow sedition and maintain disorder, as this would give the occupation the justification to stay in Iraq for a longer period.

[Zaghbur] Ziyad al-Munajjaid in Baghdad, thank you very much.

Copyright  Syrian Arab TV and BBC Monitoring, 2005

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Further on arrest of two British soldiers in Basra

Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 14:14 GMT, 19 Sep 05

Text of report by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 19 September

A British military source has said that the Iraqi police in southern Iraq have arrested two Britons. The police said that they had fired at an Iraqi security man in Maydan in the city of Basra.

AFP said that angry Iraqi demonstrators torched two British tanks after the British soldiers fired in the air to disperse them.

[Anchorman Al-Habib al-Ghuraybi] We have with us on the telephone from Baghdad Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly. What are the details of and the facts surrounding this incident?

[Al-Shaykh] In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. There have been continuous provocative acts since the day before yesterday by the British forces against the peaceful sons of Basra. There have been indiscriminate arrests, the most recent of which was the arrest of Shaykh Ahmad al-Farqusi and two Basra citizens on the pretext that they had carried out terrorist operations to kill US soldiers. This is a baseless claim. This was confirmed to us by [name indistinct] the second secretary at the British Embassy in Baghdad, when we met with him a short while ago. He said that there is evidence on this. We say: You should come up with this evidence or forget about this issue. If you really want to look for truth, then we should resort to the Iraqi justice away from the British provocations against the sons of Basra, particularly what happened today when the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them. They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed some of them. The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime.

[Al-Ghuraybi] Thank you Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the National Assembly and deputy for Basra.

Copyright  Al Jazeera TV and BBC Monitoring, 2005

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