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Dutch Embassy in Baghdad Attacked

From Associated Press

Attackers fired two rocket-propelled grenades at the Dutch Embassy here Friday night, hitting the roof with one and setting it on fire.

The blaze was quickly extinguished, and no one was injured.

The Netherlands maintains about 1,100 troops in southern Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition. It withdrew most diplomats in October because of deteriorating security conditions.

It maintains a staff of five Dutch nationals in Baghdad, none of whom was in the building when it was attacked, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.

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Worries about the level of violence has divided Japan on the question of whether to send its own peacekeeping troops to Iraq. But Tokyo’s lower house of parliament early today approved a humanitarian mission. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote.

Advance teams already have been sent to Kuwait and Iraq, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has ordered deployment of sea, land and air forces -- part of his administration’s goal of raising Japan’s profile on the world stage by contributing international peacekeepers.

A ceremony Sunday will serve as a farewell for soldiers who will form the main contingent of the 1,000-strong noncombat mission in Iraq, the first Japanese troops in a combat zone since World War II.


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