Friday, March 23, 2007

Iran Captures 15 British Sailors and Marines

Britain is demanding the "immediate and safe return" of 15 British navy personnel seized by Iranian forces. Iranian naval vessels detained 15 British sailors and marines at approximately 10:30 a.m. Iraqi time (0730 GMT) on Friday.

The UK soldiers had completed an inspection of a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded and escorted by Iranian vessels into Iranian territorial waters.

Sky News said the captives, from the Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall, were seized in the Shatt Al Arab (Arvandrud) waterway. The British Royal Navy insisted that they were operating in Iraqi waters and not Iranian territorial waters.

Late today, the Iranian Television quoted a foreign ministry statement that the British sailors had actually entered Iranian territorial waters at Arvandrud illegally. The report indicated that the detainees were being questioned by the border guards.

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