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British Bases host injured from Iraqi crisis
2003-03-27 15:32:27

Nicosia, Mar 26 (CNA) -- Robert Need, spokesman for the British Bases in Cyprus, has said that 16 persons, operationally injured, are now being treated at Akrotiri hospital, but stressed that none of these people have received injuries in combat.

Need also said that two persons who were injured in fighting and were in Akrotiri were sent back to Britain and denied that bodies are stored at the Base, one of the two military bases Britain has retained since Cyprus became an independent state in 1960.|

The spokesman was commenting on press reports suggesting that bodies and wounded persons from the Iraqi conflict are being sent to Akrotiri.

''There are no plans to store bodies at the mortuary at the hospital in Akrotiri,'' Need said, noting however that there are contingency plans to repatriate anybody who unfortunately dies while being treated here.

''No bodies have come through Akrotiri to be sent to the next of kin,'' he said, replying to questions.

He explained that the capacity of Akrotiri hospital over the years was reduced because of the reduction in troops on the island, saying that ''hospital wards were put into mothballs.''

''We have reactivated some of those wards and doubled the capacity of the hospital, but there was no additional building,'' he told CNA.

He said that there is an aero evacuation unit, which is an RAF reserve unit, responsible for medical aero evacuation of casualties out of the theatre of hostilities in Iraq.

He said that Akrotiri receives routinely casualties that are classified as safe to move.

On reports about the movement of aircraft, he said that ''sixty aircraft take off and land at Akrotiri at any one time,'' stressing however that ''no aircraft takes off from Akrotiri loaded with bombs and no combat missions are flown from Akrotiri.''

CNA/MM/RG/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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