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Iran-Iraq Naval Clash Leaves One Iraqi Dead, Nine Captured

17 January 2006 -- An Iraqi official says an Iraqi sailor was killed and nine were captured by an Iranian navy vessel during a skirmish in the Persian Gulf near the southern Iraqi city of Al-Basrah.

Al-Basrah Governor Muhammad al-Waeli claimed today that the clash happened on 14 January after an Iraqi navy patrol spotted a suspicious vessel flying an Iraqi flag. Al-Waeli said the vessel apparently radioed Iranian forces for help and an Iranian navy ship attacked the Iraqi patrol, killing one sailor and detaining nine.

No comment was immediately available from Iranian officials.

It was not immediately clear on which side of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, or Arvand River, the incident took place. The waterway runs along the Iran-Iraq border and has long been a source of tension between Iran and Iraq.

(AP, Reuters, AFP)