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A senior US intelligence official told The Washington Post that British commanders had allowed militias loyal to three Shia Muslim groups take control of the city's streets. "The British have basically been defeated in the south," he said.
British officials in Basra reject the notion that UK troop levels in the southern Iraqi province had been cut too fast
The report said a contingent of 500 British troops based at Basra Palace were "surrounded like cowboys and Indians".