Monday, February 25, 2008

US Military Says It Is Holding 14 Iranians In Iraq

February 25, 2008
Dow Jones Newswires

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military in Iraq has 14 Iranians in its custody, U.S. military officials told AFP Monday, an increase in the previously released number. "We currently have 14 Iranian detainees in coalition custody," said Major Brad Leighton, spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq.

He added: "The dates and times of their individual capture are not immediately available."

The Iranians are "being held as imperative threats to security," the U.S. Central Command said in a separate statement from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

On Nov. 9, the U.S. military said it had freed nine Iranians amid growing signs that Washington and Tehran were seeking to ease tensions over Iraq.

Another was released on Dec. 19 and in a news conference that day the military said it continued to hold 10 Iranians.

They include three men detained in the northern city of Erbil in January last year on suspicion of supporting insurgents.

U.S. officials accuse Iran of meddling in Iraq by training Shiite militias and shipping in armor-piercing explosives for attacks on U.S. troops. Iran denies the charges.

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