Friday, January 12, 2007

US forces Storm Iranian consulate

11 Jan 2007 US forces have stormed a building in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six people said to be Iranians, prompting a diplomatic incident. Iranian and Iraqi officials said the building was an Iranian consulate and the detainees its employees. The US military said it was still investigating, but that the building did not have diplomatic status. The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to local media. AFP news agency quoted Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying he did not know the nationality of the six but said they were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces". "I can confirm for you through our forces there that this is not a consulate or a government building," he said. However, Tehran said the attack violated all international conventions. It has summoned ambassadors from Switzerland, representing US interests, and Iraq. A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry described the raid as an attempt to sabotage Tehran's relations with Iraq. One Iranian MP said it showed America's cruelty and meanness.

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