The Basra prison incident
is a controversial event involving British
troops in Basra
In September 2005 two undercover
British Special Air Service
soldiers, disguised in Arab civilian garments and headdresses, were arrested by Iraqi police after they opened fire on Iraqi police officers after having been stopped at a roadblock
. UK armed forces later stormed the prison with six tanks and breached the walls. The two soldiers were thus released. A dozen other prisoners are thought to have fled in the confusion.
An angry mob fought the operation, setting two armoured vehicles ablaze with petrol bombs.
The Ministry of Defence initially denied storming the prison. In later statements, it is explained that the soldiers would have likely been killed, and that the police force had been infiltrated by illegal militia groups.
The Governor of the province, Muhammad al-Waili, denounced the event as "barbaric, savage and irresponsible".