There was a notable conflict today in the southern Iraqi city of Basra between British soldiers, Iraqi police, and civilians which appears to be brewing into a major diplomatic incident.
From what I can determine, two armed undercover British servicemen driving a standard car were stopped at an Iraqi checkpoint. A fracas ensued, which resulted in wounded and/or killed Iraqis, but the British were overpowered, arrested, and locked up in Basra's prisons. The soldiers were accused of hiding bombs in a public place while in Iraqi civilian clothes.
The next bit, however, is unclear. Apparently, several British tanks converged on the area near the prison and, according to the Iraqi interior minister, they broke down the walls of the prison and freed the two British soldiers. Witnesses reported that numerous Iraqi prisoners fled the prison too.
A British government official, however, says they have no reports that they stormed the prison, and seems to think that their subsequent freedom was negotiated.
At that point, a crowd of Iraqis attacked two British tanks, setting them alight. It is not known what happened to their crew, but the British Defense Minister said that they survived and are being treated for minor injuries.