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NEWS IN BRIEF

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24 Apr 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Kingsman (i.e. Private) from 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment was killed by small arms fire in the Al Ashar District of Basrah City on 23 Apr 07. (MoD, 24 Apr 07.) UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 145 (six from natural causes, 41 accidentally, six from friendly fire and 92 killed in action). It was confirmed that the driver of a Challenger 2 main battle tank was “very seriously injured” in a roadside bomb attack on 6 Apr 07 West of Basrah City. (MoD, 24 Apr 07.) Boarding Operations in the Gulf were suspended following the seizure of personnel on 23 Mar 07 but were re-started on 24 Apr 07. Both Inquiries connected with the seizure are expected to report in May 2007. (Defence Secretary, 24 Apr 07.) There are 186 interpreters and two drivers employed locally by British Forces in Southern Iraq. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 24 Apr 07.) As at 20 Apr 07 the following naval ships were operating in the Persian Gulf as authorised by UNSCR 1723: HMS CORNWALL, USS UNDERWOOD, USS CHINOOK, USS TYPHOON, USS SCIROCCO and the US Coast Guard vessel Aquidneck. (MA, 24 Apr 07.) Shaibah Logistics Base was handed over to the Iraqi Army on 24 Apr 07. (MoD, 25 Apr 07.) Some 500 members of 1st Bn The Staffordshire Regiment returned to Tidworth from Basrah. (MoD, 25 Apr 07.) As at 4 Apr 07, there were around 280 Territorial Army (TA) personnel deployed in Iraq. Since March 2003 over 10,000 members of the TA have served in Iraq. (MA, 26 Apr 07.) The equipment seized by Iranians on 23 Mar 07 was: two rigid hull inflatable boats, seven carbines, four rifles, 10 pistols and ammunition, communications and navigation systems, body armour, helmets, goggles and camera equipment. The replacement cost is estimated at around £270,000. (MA, 26 Apr 07.) The Board of Inquiry into the loss of a Lynx helicopter in Basrah on 6 May 06 concluded that the aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. (MoD, 27 Apr 07.)
Comment: Parliamentary Questions about the events in the Gulf on 23 Mar 07, particularly those from Ann Winterton MP on 24 Apr 07, were avoided by the Defence Secretary while the Inquiries are taking place. Meanwhile, the current (27 Apr 07) edition of ‘Private Eye’ includes an illuminating account of “the Iranian hostage fiasco”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0717, 30 Apr 07)

24 Apr 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. 26 Engineer Regiment has been making the town of Sangin more secure by constructing three Company-sized patrol bases for the Afghan National Security Forces. (MoD, 24 Apr 07.) 500 Royal Marines from 45 Commando returned to Arbroath from a six-month deployment. (MoD, 25 Apr 07.) As at 4 Apr 07, there were 260 TA soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. Since May 2006, around 450 members of the TA have served in Afghanistan.
Comment: Associated Press reported (27 Apr 07) that Taliban militants had taken control of the Giro District of Ghazni Province, 200 miles East of Northern Helmand. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0717, 30 Apr 07)

02 May 07. Blair attacked over Iraq ‘errors’. Mistakes were made in post war planning, says Mr Hoon. Tony Blair has defended his policy in Iraq after former defence secretary Geoff Hoon said mistakes had been made. In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Hoon said Britain and America failed to plan properly for the aftermath of the invasion four years ago. Mr Blair told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions the job in Iraq was “difficult” and “challenging”. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the invasion should never have taken place. Mr Hoon, defence secretary during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said Britain and America failed to agree on key decisions in the months following the invasion. The British government also underestimated the role and influence of US vice-president Dick Cheney, he told The Guardian. Mr Hoon, now minister for Europe, said: “Sometimes Tony Blair had made his point with the president, and I’d made my

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