UK offers payout for victims of Basra raid

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Britain has offered to pay compensation for damage and injuries inflicted when the Army stormed a police station in Basra to free two special forces soldiers held by militiamen.

A statement issued by the British consulate and the Basra provincial council expressed regret at the casualties and damage caused in the incident last month.

Demonstrators attacked four British armoured vehicles during the raid to free the arrested men. Part of the main police station was destroyed and several people were said to have been killed or injured.

The statement said: "The British Government is prepared to pay valid claims for compensation for casualties and material damage in the well-established manner."

The statement made it clear that any action against British troops would be a matter for the UK authorities. The conciliatory statement added: "This incident and other shooting incidents are subject to stringent official review."