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British officials deny capturing Iraqi general

British officials have denied the claim of commandos in Basra that they had captured an Iraqi general.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2003 15:18 IST

British commandos battling paramilitary forces in the southeast corner of Basra said they captured an Iraqi general, but defence officials in Britain later denied the claim.

"We do not have a prisoner of war of general rank," a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity on Sunday. It was not clear if the British were holding officers of other ranks prisoner.

Group Capt. Al Lockwood, spokesman for British forces in the Gulf, earlier said a Republican Guard general officer had been captured. He said the general was believed to have been sent to the southern city to "try and strengthen the resolve among the Baath Party militia and the paramilitaries that are operating in the area."

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British military spokesman Maj. Will MacKinlay said on BBC television that the confusion should be blamed on "the fog of war." He also said British troops had killed a number of Iraqi officers.



For the most part, Britain has been exchanging fire with members of Baath militias as well as other "irregular" forces in the city - but not the elite Republican Guards who have massed more in the north, particularly around Baghdad.