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U.K. puts Iraq troops on high alert

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BASRA, Iraq, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- British military officials are preparing for terrorist attacks after they blew up a police building in southern Iraq thought to house a torture center.

British troops in Basra were put on high alert to expect retaliatory attacks after British and Iraqi troops blew up the building, Maj. Charlie Burbridge said Wednesday, according to German online daily Netzeitung.

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Some 800 soldiers killed seven armed militia men and transferred 127 prisoners into another location. The operation came after intelligence sources tipped off the British that Shiite militia, who had infiltrated the Basra police, were planning to execute prisoners, some of whom were showing signs of having been tortured.

Some Iraqi regional officials criticized the operation as excessive, but the governor of the province had agreed to it.

The United Kingdom has some 7,000 troops stationed in Iraq, most of them around Basra.

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