AP report a British Lynx AH 7 military helicopter crashed on a house in Basra on Saturday, and Iraqis hurled stones at British troops and set fire to three armored vehicles that rushed to the scene. Clashes broke out between British troops and Shiite militias, police and witnesses said. The Lynx is fast and agile, the Lynx is a deadly tank-killer when equipped with eight TOW anti-armour missiles. Lynx is the British Army’s primary battlefield utility helicopter.
The crowd set three British armored vehicles on fire, apparently with gasoline bombs and a rocket-propelled grenade, but the soldiers inside escaped unhurt, witnesses said.
Shooting live rounds into the air British troops tried to frighten and disperse the crowd, then shooting broke out between the British and Iraqi militiamen. At least 4 people, including a child, were killed,2 were adults shot by British troops while driving a car in the area. (9/5 this hasn't been corroborated)
Video footage from the BBC also showed hundreds of Iraqis near the scene of the crash waving their arms in the air and throwing stones.Video footage from Iraqi television showed orange flames and large plumes of black smoke curling into the sky. British troops were seen running through the streets, firing shots into the air.
Video from BBC on news wire Here (windows media player required)
The BBC also report the MoD said it was "not the right time to be discussing strategy", saying their efforts were concentrated on dealing with the situation on the ground. Whilst the new Minister Des Browne has hardly got his feet under the table it seems extraordinary, that all the resources of the MOD are consumed by dealing with what is essentially a small skirmish.
The Liberal Democrats said it was an "appalling incident" and called for a "clear exit strategy" for British forces from the area.
Curiously enough a Lib Dem MP John Burnet in his newsletter of 2nd February last year said,
"Deploying helicopter gunships over defenceless people’s homes will do nothing to persuade the Iraqi people to embrace democracy and the rule of law. This commitment to “decisive force” is encouraging hostage taking, violence, and anarchy. It is inflicting further wounds and divisions in a country that the British Government told us we were going to liberate."
Three years ago, President Bush flew on to the USS Abraham Lincoln and announced "major combat operations in Iraq have ended". It was a childish display of premature triumphalism. It symbolises the arrogance of the US endeavour. It characterises the whole episode of brutal folly that he dragged the UK and others into. The banner carefully designed and precisely place over his head declared: "mission accomplished".
It is clear to all (except the boneheads / zionist drum bangers / fascist neo-cons / military simpletons / Weapons manufacturers lobbyists on the Beltway ) that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the mother of all foreign policy disasters.
Iraq has served to dramatically weaken the deterrence effect of American military power. Tied down, like Gulliver, shot at by insurgents, drug dealers, sniped at by Ahmenidijad, Chavez, Morales, Castro, America today gives potential competitors few reasons to fear its wrath. Meanwhile Bolton foams at the mouth at the UN and Cheney calls Putin a Cold War warrior.
The idea that removing Saddam and his ugly regime , only one of many brutal dictators the US have been happy to deal with, so that they could unleash a wave of liberal democratic sentiment across Iraq and the wider Arab world to install a Jeffersonian participatory democracy was wrong then and it is now. It has trained terrorists, given them a unifying cause, it has lit a fuse that will not easily be quenched.
Is Des Browne the guy in the UK to sort it out ? No. Will he yield to Tony Blair and the crowd on the sofa in No 10 backroom, and the gangsters in the White House ? Yes. Ditto Margaret Beckett the happy refugee from the administrative chaos of DEFRA.
Hold on to your hat, stormy times ahead.
BREAKING NEWS BBB "BROADCASTING HOUSE" 7/5/06 INTERVIEW WITH DES BROWNE MINISTER OF DEFENCE 0900 BST.
Added zero to the above, everything is being "investigated". His "focus" is to concentrate on this event and doesn't want to be diverted or distracted from that task. Exacttly what you would expect from a grim Scottish Solicitor. Late Sunday probable five deaths of UK military.