Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Yahoo! News - Iran Frees British Sailors After Two Days

Yahoo! News - Iran Frees British Sailors After Two Days: "Iran Frees British Sailors After Two Days

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran released eight British sailors detained for illegally entering Iranian waters two days earlier, but said Wednesday it was keeping their three boats.

'The eight British sailors, including six soldiers and two ranking military officials, have been released,' a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told The Associated Press. She said that while they were no longer detained, the sailors had not yet been handed over to British authorities. She gave no further details.
State-run television reported that the sailors would leave Iran without the three military patrol boats and some unspecified equipment.
The men were detained Monday in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that runs along the Iran-Iraq (news - web sites) border as they were delivering a patrol boat for the new Iraqi Riverine Patrol Service. The waterway is known in Iran as the Arvand River.
A top military official had said the sailors were being released because their intrusion into Iran's waters was apparently a mistake. Two of the sailors had been shown on Iranian TV on Tuesday, blindfolded and seated cross-legged on the ground.
'My name is Sergeant Thomas Harkins from the British Royal Marines. I do apologize for entering Iranian territorial waters,' the one said on Al-Alam, an Arabic-language station. "

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