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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 06:11 GMT
Iraqi PM condemns 'illegal' raid
A man stands amid scattered furniture and office material at the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency headquarters
The facility was entered because of information gained in earlier raids
Iraq's prime minister has called for an investigation into Sunday's raid by Iraqi and British forces in Basra on an intelligence agency detention centre.

Nouri Maliki issued a statement calling for those behind the "illegal and irresponsible act" to be punished.

The British military said the raid was part of an operation led by Iraqi counter-terrorist forces who were seeking a "known death squad leader".

It said evidence of torture had been found at the southern Iraqi facility.

"The prime minister has ordered a prompt investigation into the incident of breaking into the security complex headquarters in Basra," a statement released by Mr Maliki's office said.

During the operation, Iraqi forces discovered around 30 prisoners, many of whom showed signs of torture and abuse
British military statement

The British military responded with a statement saying the National Iraqi Intelligence Agency headquarters was not deliberately targeted and was only entered because of information gained in preceding raids.

"During the operation, Iraqi forces discovered around 30 prisoners, including a woman and two children, who were being held, and many of whom showed signs of torture and abuse," the statement said.

It went on to say that Iraqi forces broke down locked doors, which led to the escape of a number of prisoners but rejected reports Iraqi forces deliberately released the prisoners.

Earlier in Basra, five people were held on suspicion of involvement in roadside bomb attacks against the multinational forces and Iraqi civilians, as well as kidnaps, torture and murder.

'Political consensus'

Earlier on Sunday more than 1,100 Iraqi and US troops carried out an operation in Baghdad's Shia stronghold of Sadr City, the US military said.

It said no weapons cache had been found or suspected militant arrested.

The raids came as the Iraqi prime minister said he was offering an olive branch to insurgents who accepted the language of reconciliation and dialogue.

Those who did not would fall foul of a security crackdown which would "cover every inch of Iraq", he said.

He did not specify whether insurgents who stopped fighting would be given an amnesty.

Mr Maliki has said he will reshuffle his cabinet within the next two weeks.

No details have been given, but reports quote unnamed officials as saying he is expected to dismiss all six ministers loyal to the Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, who has been criticised by the United States.

Mr Maliki said political consensus could only be achieved in Iraq once the country was stable.

Scenes from the aftermath of the Basra raid

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