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Last week's attack on Basra, and official notes on gasoil smuggling

1) 24 killed in Basra bombing: report 
08:36 GMT, 28 January 1999

BAGHDAD, Jan 28 (AFP) -A total of 24 civilians died when American
missiles hit the Basra region of southern Iraq, a weekly newspaper
reported on Thursday. A missile which crashed into the town of
Al-Jumhuriya, near Basra, left 18 dead and 59 wounded on Monday,
Al-Zaura said. Seven houses were destroyed and 27 damaged the paper
added. It repeated official figures that six died in a worker's village
called Abu Flus, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Basra.

2) From Elias Davidsson:
Excerpts from  a Press release by the White House Office of the Press
Secretary dated Nov. 6, 1998 and entitled: Text of a letter from the
President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President Pro Tempore of the Senate

The Maritime Interception Forces

The Maritime Interception Force (MIF), operating in accordance with
[S.C.] Resolution 665 and other relevant resolutions, vigorously
enforces U.N. sanctions in the Gulf.  The U.S. Navy is the single
largest component of this multinational force, but it is frequently
augmented by ships, aircraft, and other support from Australia, Canada,
Belgium, Kuwait, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the UAE , and the United
Kingdom.  Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council also support the
MIF by providing logistical support and shipriders and by accepting
vessels diverted for violating U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

The MIF continues to intercept vessels involved in illegal smuggling
into and out of Iraq.  In late August, the MIF conducted stepped-up
operations in the far northern Gulf in the shallow waters near the major
Iraqi waterways. These operations severely disrupted smuggling
operations in the region.  A new round of stepped up activity took place
in mid-October. Since the beginning of the year, over 40 vessels have
been detained for violations of the embargo and sent to ports in the
Gulf for enforcement actions. Kuwait and the UAE, two countries adjacent
to the smuggling routes, have also stepped up their own enforcement
efforts and have intercepted and detained vessels involved in sanctions
violations. Although refined petroleum products leaving Iraq comprise
most of the prohibited traffic, the MIF has also intercepted a growing
number of ships in smuggling prohibited goods into Iraq in violation of
U.N. sanctions resolutions and the "oil-for-food" program. Ships
involved in smuggling frequently utilize the territorial seas of Iran to
avoid MIF patrols.  In September, Iran closed the Shatt Al Arab waterway
to smugglers and we observed the lowest level of illegal gasoil
smuggling in 2 years. Iran apparently reopened the waterway in October.
Detailed reports of these smuggling activities have been provided to the
U.N. Sanctions Committee in New York.

Elias Davidsson - Post Box 1760 - 121 Reykjavik - Iceland
Tel. (00354)-552-6444     Fax: (00354)-552-6579
Email:     URL:

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