Friday, August 17, 2007


Relatives of Danish soldiers receive threatening phone calls

(AP) -- Denmark's military intelligence agency is investigating whether Iraqi insurgents have used mobile phone records to track down and threaten relatives of Danish soldiers deployed in Iraq, officials said Thursday. Family members of several soldiers have told Danish media that they received threatening phone calls from unidentified callers in Iraq.
The Iraqi callers may have tracked down the numbers by monitoring private phone calls made by the soldiers to their relatives in Denmark, according to the Danish Defense Intelligence Service. "Right now, we're mapping the extent (of the threats), after which we will consider whether our guidelines to our staff and their families regarding the use of cell phones and e-mails should be revised," agency spokeswoman Mette Noehr said. "To our knowledge, we're talking about a limited number of cases."
Noehr said the agency was not sure whether insurgents were behind the calls. "It could also be hoodlums but one thing is sure, we're taking this very seriously," she said. Denmark withdrew its 460-strong contingent from the southern city of Basra last month and replaced it with a small helicopter unit. Seven Danes have been killed in Iraq.
Pvt. Ralf Clemmesen, who served in Iraq in the first half of 2007, told Denmark's TV2 News that his father and girlfriend had received threatening phone calls from Iraq in February. "Someone yelled in broken English and it was not nice things," Clemmesen said in a live television interview. "I couldn't do anything. I was locked in Iraq. It didn't improve my concentration."
The relatives of at least 10 Danish soldiers had received similar calls, Clemmesen said. Army Col. Henrik Sommer, who is in charge of foreign operations, said there were no plans to bar Danish soldiers from bringing their private cell phones on foreign assignments. The military isn't sure how the phone numbers were obtained, but one explanation could be that someone got ahold of the soldiers' calling records from local telecom operators, Sommer said.

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