Iran releases Iraqi sailors

Eight Iraqi sailors detained by Iran after a weekend clash in a shared waterway have been released, but the body of a ninth sailor has not yet been repatriated.

    The sailors were released near Basra in southern Iraq

    General Ahmed al-Khafaji, the deputy Iraqi interior minister, said the sailors were released early on Friday through the Shalamcha border police station near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border and Basra, 550km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

     

    The body of the ninth sailor who was killed in the clash was to be released on Saturday, al-Khafaji added.

     

    Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.

     

    Al-Khafaji said two Iraqi boats detained by Iran during last Saturday's clash were to be handed over on Saturday, but Muhammad al-Waeli, the governor of Basra, said Iran was going to keep the vessels.

     

    Iraqi officials had said the sailors were detained on 14 January following a clash between Iraqi and Iranian coast guard ships near the Shatt al-Arab waterway, or Arvand River, in the Arab Gulf.

     

    However, the Iranian authorities have denied claims that an Iranian naval vessel fought a skirmish with an Iraqi coast guard ship, instead saying there was a clash between Iranian patrol boats and a merchant ship headed toward Iranian waters.

     

    The Shatt al-Arab waterway runs along the Iran-Iraq border and has long been a source of tension between Iran and Iraq. The 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war broke out after former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein claimed the entire waterway.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.