US arrests Palestinian diplomats in Iraq

United States troops have arrested three Palestinian diplomats and five others in Baghdad in connection with an attack on a US convoy earlier this week.

    Site of ambush on US
    forces: strong retaliation

    In a raid on the Palestinian mission in the Iraqi capital that ended midnight Wednesday, the US soldiers also seized weapons and a "book on terrorism".

    US Lieutenant General David McKiernan said seven Palestinians and a Syrian had been detained in the raid, which he said followed a bomb attack in the same area that killed a US soldier.

    The US raid netted "four AK-47s, seven grenades, one MP-5, four M-9s, a 0.48 calibre pistol and a book on terrorism", he said.

      

    "I have not seen the book on terrorism that was reported by the unit that conducted this operation but I'll take their word for it," he told a news conference.

      

    Palestinian mission spokesman Mohammed Atta said the raid had lasted from midnight Tuesday to midnight Wednesday and left the offices ransacked.

     

    "The US forces arrested charge d'affaires Najjah Abdel Rahman, consul Ibrahim Mohsen and commercial counsellor Munir Sobhi, as well as three office staff and three security guards, all of them Palestinians, and two Iraqi gardeners," said Mohsen.

      

    But McKiernan claimed seven Palestinians and a Syrian were held. He said he could not provide evidence of their diplomatic status.

      

    Mohsen said US commanders had given no response to requests for information about the whereabouts of the staff and had sealed off the area around the mission in the upmarket Amriya area with 40 armoured vehicles.

      

    On the evening of 26 May, a US soldier was killed and three wounded when a bag of explosives was thrown in front of their convoy on the main road to Baghdad airport from the city centre.


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