The BBC didn’t see fit to take note of the new occupants until the 9th paragraph of this story. “Troops withdraw from Basra base,” from the BBC (thanks to John):
British forces have withdrawn from a base in Basra they shared with Iraqi police – the first step in a plan to move out all troops based in the city.
Another 500 troops will now pull back from Saddam Hussein’s former palace, their only remaining base in the city….
Then follow many details, and finally Paragraph Nine:
The British military spokesman in Basra has dismissed reports that Shia militia men from the Mahdi Army took over the base after British forces passed control to Iraqi police last night.
Witnesses told the Associated Press the Mahdi Army emptied the building taking generators, computers, furniture and even cars.
Major Michael Shearer told the BBC News website that officers from the Multi-National Force spoke to the local Iraqi Army commander who “assured us that the PJCC is under his control and being efficiently run by the Iraqi Army. He also stated that all the equipment remains within the PJCC”.
An MoD spokesman said there was a green Shia flag flying on the building, but not the black flag associated with the Mahdi Army….