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Rebels Kill 6 Iraqis at Checkpoint; Shiite Pilgrims Attacked in South

From Associated Press

Four insurgents opened fire at a U.S. checkpoint Wednesday in the northern city of Mosul, slaying six Iraqis before soldiers killed the attackers, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.

The U.S. military said it had no information on that clash, but it said three suspected insurgents were killed in Mosul after soldiers stopped a taxi that then exploded. Five troops were injured, it said.

In western Iraq, a Marine from the 2nd Force Service Support Group was killed when his vehicle hit a land mine while en route to the city of Qaim, the military said.

In the country’s south, gunmen opened fire on Shiite Muslim pilgrims making their way to a major religious festival, killing one person.

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The ambush near Mahaweel, about 35 miles south of Baghdad, also wounded two pilgrims, Police Capt. Muthana Furati said. Attacks on pilgrims Monday killed four people, including two police officers guarding pilgrims.

Roads across Iraq were crowded with Shiites heading to the holy city of Karbala to celebrate the Arbain festival today. The holiday marks the end of a 40-day period of mourning for Imam Hussein, the prophet Muhammad’s grandson who was killed in a 7th century battle.

Also Wednesday, Al Jazeera television aired a tape purportedly showing three Romanian journalists who were kidnapped in Iraq and a fourth, unidentified captive, apparently an American.

The station said that the four were being held by an unnamed militant group and that no demands had been made.

The U.S. State Department said a U.S. citizen had been taken hostage with the Romanians.

It gave no further information, and there was no way to confirm that the American was the other person on the video.

Romanian television station Realitatea TV reported that an Iraqi American who worked as an interpreter for the journalists was the fourth person kidnapped.


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