March 23, 2007, RFE/RL -- Britain's Defense Ministry says 15 British navy personnel were seized by crew on Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf today.
The ministry said the British sailors were carrying out a routine patrol in Iraqi territorial waters. It said they had finished inspecting a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded by Iranian ships, and escorted into Iranian waters.
The Defense Ministry said Iran's ambassador in London had been summoned, and that Britain was demanding the sailors' immediate safe release.
A similar incident took place in 2004, when Iran detained eight British servicemen for three days, accusing them of crossing into Iranian maritime territory. The sailors were released unharmed.
(AP, Reuters, AFP, BBC)
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