British bomb Iraqi Police

Apparently the Iraqis forgot to tell their police that the Serious Crime Unit was supposed to prevent Serious Crimes, not commit them. …

From the ABC:

British troops storm Iraqi police HQ

The British military says its troops have destroyed the headquarters of an Iraqi police unit after moving 78 prisoners whom they feared the rogue officers might kill.

UK Army spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge says the raid was launched amid concerns the police officers, who have been accused of a string of atrocities in Basra, might kill their prisoners before their controversial unit was wound up.

"We've deployed a significant number of soldiers in Basra in the early hours of this morning with a view to disbanding the Serious Crimes Unit and the police station from which the unit operates," he said.

"The Serious Crimes Unit is in the process of being disbanded."

He says British troops have levelled the unit's Basra headquarters with explosives.

Major Burbridge says the British force expects retaliatory attacks from local gunmen but there has been no resistance yet.

He says there were "very few" officers at the station in Iraq's second biggest city when the raid took place.

"There were 76 prisoners, not 178 as we first thought," he said.

"They've been secured and we've moved them to an alternative Iraqi detention facility."

Last week, hundreds of UK troops arrested a senior officer in the Basra Serious Crimes Unit and accused him of ordering the murder of 17 staff at a British-run police academy.

British forces have overall security responsibility in Basra province.

Plans to hand over control to local forces have been made harder by large-scale infiltration of police units by local political and tribal militias.
Iranians 'arrested'

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says US forces have detained two Iranians Mr Talabani invited to Iraq.

"The president is unhappy with the arrests," Mr Talabani's media adviser, Hiwa Osman, said.

"The invitation was within the framework of an agreement between Iran and Iraq to improve the security situation."

US commanders in Iraq regularly accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in its troubled neighbour but the Shiite-led Iraqi Government has insisted on pursuing a policy of closer security ties with Tehran.


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