Update October 18th: More details on this story at the New York Times, here.
Update October 17th: This is very confusing. It seems that when the plane landed in Baghdad some of the returned asylum seekers got off the plane and others were told they must return to Great Britain, here.
Just as we in the US are getting ready to resettle possibly tens of thousands of additional Iraqi refugees (more on that in the morning), Britain joins Denmark now in loading them up and sending them back because violence is down.
From Al Jazeera:
Britain has forcibly sent 39 Iraqi asylum seekers back to Baghdad, a refugee group has said.
The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (Ifir) has raised concern over the welfare of the asylum seekers once they arrive in Iraq, which has seen a continuation of deadly suicide bombings in recent months.
The Ifir said 39 people had been deported on a specially chartered Air Italy flight that left London’s Stansted airport early on Thursday.
The group said people on the flight were told it was going to Baghdad, making it the first deportation flight into south or central Iraq from the UK.
And, these 39 are not the first.
According to Britain’s interior ministry, 632 people were deported to northern Iraq between 2005 and 2008.