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ON THIS DAY

02 April 1982: Argentina invades Falklands. Argentina has invaded the British territory of the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic. The islands, off the coast of Argentina, have been a cause of friction between the two countries since Britain claimed them in 1833. The Argentine flag is now flying over Government House in the Falkland Islands’ capital, Port Stanley. The head of the country’s military junta, General Leopoldo Galtieri, has welcomed the “recovery” of “Las Malvinas” – the Argentine name for the Falklands. General Galtieri said Argentina had been left with no option other than military action. The invasion followed months of sabre-rattling and a build-up over the past few days of Argentine war ships off the Falkland Islands, home to about 1,800 people. At 0600 on Friday Argentina began “Operation Rosario” when a unit of Argentine troops landed near Port Stanley. The leader of the Argentine forces, Rear Admiral Jorge Allara, had contacted the Falklands’ governor, Rex Hunt, to appeal for a peaceful surrender. But the request was rejected and the 80 members of the Royal Marine regiment stationed on the island and 20 locals were mobilised. But by early afternoon they were vastly outnumbered by about 3,000 Argentine troops. After an attack on Government House during which one Argentine soldier is said to have been killed, Rex Hunt ordered the British troops to surrender. No Falkland Islanders or Royal Marines died in the fighting though one serviceman is reported to be badly wounded. The British Government has cut diplomatic ties with Argentina and started to assemble a large naval taskforce to reclaim the islands. Questions are being asked as to why the government was so unprepared given two recent “invasions” by Argentine civilians of another British territory in the region. In the latest incident in March they planted a flag on South Georgia, an uninhabited island 800 miles (1287 kilometres) north east of the Falklands. (Source: BBC)

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