U.S. to free Turkish troops, report says

THE BALTIMORE SUN

SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq - The United States reportedly agreed yesterday to free 11 Turkish soldiers seized in a raid, after three days of tension that threatened to further erode relations between the two countries.

On Friday, U.S. troops stormed a Turkish military post in northern Iraq, taking prisoners and confiscating explosive powder, dozens of grenades, two dozen automatic rifles and boxes of documents and maps, Turkish officials said.

The Turkish state-run news agency reported that the 11 soldiers, who were taken to Baghdad, would be returned to Sulaymaniyah today.

Kurdish sources said the raid was based on information that the Turkish soldiers were planning an attack - possibly an attempt to assassinate the U.S.-backed mayor of Kirkuk. Turkish officials denied any such plot, and U.S. authorities in Kirkuk and Baghdad have declined to comment on the raid.

Christine Spolar and Catherine Collins are reporters for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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