Basra attacks down, RAF says

Oct. 30, 2008 at 5:35 PM
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BASRA, Iraq, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Police with the British Royal Air Force said attacks on their forces in Iraq have declined significantly since taking up positions in Basra in August.

Sgt. Lee Close with the RAF reported no deaths and few injuries since their six-month rotation began in Basra this summer, the British Ministry of Defense reported.

"There have been three attacks since we've been here, which is way down on what the guys before us had to deal with," Close said. "In previous tours there have been 500 missiles in a six-month period. Hopefully we're not going to see anything like that."

RAF police patrol checkpoints for USB flash drives, cellular phones or other electronic devices that may be used by insurgents posing as contractors at the British Contingency Operating Base in Basra, as officials point to burglary and theft as a main policing concern. Such electronic devices also may be used to control improvised explosive devices.

In addition to routine patrols, RAF are training members of the Iraqi border security force as they provide security at the Basra International Airport.

"The focus has gone from the British teaching the Iraqis to the Iraqis doing their job with the British watching, to the Iraqis doing it themselves and coming to us if they have any problems," said RAF Sgt. Ian Russell.

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