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IRAQ

U.S. Navy: 4 ships robbed off coast

BAGHDAD | Gunmen robbed four commercial ships anchored near the southern oil hub of Basra in a rare attack off the Iraqi coast, the U.S. Navy said Sunday.

Two men armed with AK-47 rifles boarded the U.S. ship Sagamore in the vicinity of an Iraqi oil terminal in the northern Persian Gulf at 4 a.m. on Aug. 8, taking computers, cell phones and money from crew members before fleeing the vessel after about 40 minutes on board, according to Lt. John Fage, a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

He said three other ships — the Antigua-flagged Armenia, the North Korean Crystal Wave and the Syrian Sana Star — also were robbed under similar circumstances during a two-hour period starting about 2 a.m. the same day.

BAHRAIN

Shiite clerics arrested on security suspicions

MANAMA | Bahraini authorities have arrested four Shiite men, including two clerics, suspected of setting up a network aimed at destabilizing the country, a security official said Sunday.

Three of the men were arrested Sunday, while the fourth — Abduljalil al-Singace, a leading figure in the Shiite opposition association Haq — was detained late Saturday, said the official from Bahrain’s National Security, cited by the BNA state news agency.

Mohammed Habib Mansur al-Safaf, known as Sheikh Mohammed al-Moqdad; and Saeed Mirza Ahmed, known as Sheikh Saeed al-Huri; as well as Abdulghani Ali Issa Khanjar, a Shiite activist, were the others arrested.

NIGERIA

Shell says sabotage increasing on pipeline

LAGOS | Royal Dutch Shell PLC warned Sunday that thieves in Nigeria’s oil-rich and restive southern delta are increasingly targeting the company’s crude pipelines, including at least three incidents of sabotage this month alone.

In a statement, Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary said damaged pipelines near Bonny in Rivers state bore signs of drilled holes and hacksaw cuts. The subsidiary said the damage suggested that thieves — known locally as “bunkerers” — likely had tapped into the lines to siphon off crude oil to sell on the black market.

The subsidiary did not give an estimate of how much crude oil it had lost in the incidents, though it acknowledged the damaged pipelines had leaked crude oil into the environment. The statement said the company put containment booms into the surrounding waterways to stop the oil flow and hired a contractor to begin a cleanup.

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