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British Sailors Land in London

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Fifteen British sailors and marines held captive by Iran for nearly two weeks are now in Britain. They arrived at London Heathrow Airport, smiling and wearing fresh military uniforms. Their homecoming came on the same day that four British soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in southern Iraq.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his country is grieving and rejoicing at the same time.

Prime Minister TONY BLAIR (Great Britain): On the one hand, we are glad that our service personnel returned, safe and unharmed from their captivity. But on the other, we return to the sober and ugly reality of what is happening through terrorism in Iraq.

MONTAGNE: British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking today in London.

The release of the British crew brings to an end the diplomatic standoff between Britain and Iran. The sailors and marines returned to Britain one day after Iran's president said he was releasing them as a gift to the British people. After they have a reunion with their families, the crew will spend the next several days undergoing debriefings by British officials. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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