Danish troops assisted British military in Basra operation

Danish troops manned road blocks before a much-criticized British military action in southern Iraq earlier this month, but were not involved in the operation, according to the government statement.

Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Soeren Gade told that the country's troops had assisted British colleagues when rioting broke out in Basra on Sept. 19. The riots began when British armored vehicles and troops encircled a jail where two British soldiers had been taken after being arrested by Iraqi police.

Gade later told Parliament that the only role for the Danish troops was to man three road blocks outside the zone where British troops were in action. The Danes manned the roadblocks for about three hours until their British colleagues found the two soldiers who were being held in Basra by Iraqi police.

Criticism of Britain's role in Iraq has increased following the clash.

Scenes of soldiers, some with their clothes on fire, escaping from their besieged armored vehicles were replayed repeatedly on British television. British armored vehicles subsequently broke through exterior walls of the jail compound, smashed cars and demolished buildings to rescue the two soldiers, the AP reports.

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