— KUWAIT (Reuters) - The southern Iraqi city of Basra is
essentially under the control of British forces and a local tribal
leader will help form a new leadership there, a British military
spokesman said on Tuesday.
"The British troops are in control of the city although it will
take a few days yet to cement the town as it did in Umm Qasr and al
Zubayr," said spokesman Chris Vernon, referring to two other
southern towns that saw lingering Iraqi resistance.
Vernon said that a local tribal leader, whom he identified only
as "a sheikh," would form the leadership within the Basra
"This person approached us, we met with him last night...We have
ascertained that he is worthwhile, credible, has authority in the
local area particularly with the tribal chiefs," he said.
"He will now form his own committee. Who he wishes to come onto
that is entirely up to him," Vernon added.
|An unidentified man stands at a
window inside the looted Sheraton Hotel in Basra, Iraq, April
7 2003. Looting has become rife in the city after British
troops guarded by tanks and helicopter gunships walked
unopposed into the city on Monday, meeting a warm reception in
the narrow streets of the old quarter. Photo by
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