GULF WAR 2: SADDAM'S FANATICS TOLD TO TARGET RIR; THE following is a pooled despatch from SARAH OLIVER at Fort Blair Mayne on the Iraqi border.
IRAQI soldiers have been given orders to execute members of the Royal Irish regiment.
Saddam's army officers sanctioned a hit against one or more men belonging to the RIR as a bloody act of reprisal for the troops' invasion of southern Iraq a week ago.
It is also understood they wish to terrify the local population to prevent further co-operation with the occupying force which is currently bringing in food and medical aid and restoring power and water to the beleaguered region.
Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Tim Collins ordered the immediate arrest of the Ba'ath Party loyalists behind the plot. They are to be taken alive and locked in a high security Prisoner of War cage.
He said: "The Ba'ath Party Operations Officer was reported as having fled to Basra ahead of our arrival here but we have since learned he had re-entered our area of operations with orders to kill a British soldier.
"Apparently Baghdad hopes it will warn us off and make local resistance to the old regime crumble. The bottom line however is that there will be no murders on my watch.
"We came into this area with excellent intelligence and we have since made first class local contacts. At the risk of their own lives local people have offered information to my patrols and it has been spot-on. This time it has saved the life of one of my men."
The CO was speaking as he locked away the province's Ba'ath party armoury.
The artillery, Howitzers, mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and anti-aircraft missiles used in battle against the British and American forces are being destroyed where they lie in the oilfields they were intended to protect.
But in a sinister development, night-time raids by heavily armed men of the 1st Royal Irish have led to the discovery of other weapons in civilian hands.
Unlike the Iraqi Army's antiquated battlefield weapons, the Ba'ath armour was new and in first class condition. Lt Colonel Collins believes it had been stashed away - much had been dug into house foundations - to arm a future rebellion.
His armourers have disabled the haul which included weapons and ammunition from China, Russia, France, Belgium and Hungary.
READY: Lt Col Tim Collins
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Mar 30, 2003|
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