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>>> Multi-National Corps-Iraq has this press release out on the story...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Coalition Forces Detain, Later Release Individuals
Coalition Forces detained a group of 15 individuals traveling together in four vehicles here Tuesday. The group included seven Iraqis and eight Iranian nationals.
Coalition Forces searched the vehicles as the group attempted to enter a checkpoint on Abu Nuwas Street near the Sheraton Hotel. CF confiscated an AK-47 rifle and two 9mm pistols in the possession of the Iraqis in the group. The Iraqis serving as a protective detail had identification but no weapons permits and also had Iranian money.
The individuals were allowed to proceed and went in the Sheraton Hotel.
The CF followed shortly after, based on further instructions from its headquarters element and searched their rooms. While there, CF confiscated a laptop computer, cellphones, and a briefcase full of Iranian and US money.
Contrary to published reports, there was no raid on the hotel.
Following the brief room search the group was taken to a coalition facility for questioning. The Iranian nationals had passports. It was later determined that two of the Iranian individuals were carrying diplomatic credentials.
The Iranian nationals were released in consultation with the Government of Iraq to Iraqi officials.