Gulf in the Media
Agence France Presse
Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.
Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters".
An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: "It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran -- but nobody has officially declared it."
"We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us. It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot."
The Sun said that radar sightings of Iranian helicopters crossing into the Iraqi desert were confirmed to it by very senior military sources.
In response to the report, a British defence ministry spokesman said: "There is evidence that explosive devices used against our troops in southern Iraq originated in Iran."
"Any Iranian link to armed militias in Iraq either through weapons supply, training or funding are unacceptable."
Britain has about 7,100 soldiers in Iraq, most of whom are based in the southern city of Basra and surrounding areas, though the government has pledged to reduce that to between 5,000 and 5,500 this year.