Developments in Iraq on Thursday
Photographs allegedly showing British troops threatening and urinating on a hooded Iraqi prisoner were "categorically not taken in Iraq," according to the British government. Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told the House of Commons that the truck seen in the photos published by the Daily Mirror newspaper "was never in Iraq."
Heavy gunfire and huge explosions resounded as American forces battled Iraqi militiamen near a gold-domed shrine that is one of the most sacred sites for Shiite Muslims. Thick smoke rose over the city center.
Heavy explosions were heard late in another Shiite holy city, Najaf, where Shiite militiamen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are also facing American troops.
Roadside bombs killed a Marine in the Fallujah area Thursday and a soldier Wednesday in Baghdad, U.S. officials said. Another Marine died Wednesday of wounds suffered during a clash in western Anbar province on the same day.
Terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the masked man who beheaded an American civilian in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials concluded, leaving other questions unresolved about Nicholas Berg's final days and his contacts with U.S. and Iraqi authorities.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost more than $50 billion next year in the Bush administration's clearest description yet of the conflicts' price tags.-- The Associated Press
The British military has reported 58 deaths; Italy, 17; Spain, eight; Bulgaria, six; Ukraine, four; Poland, three; Thailand, two; Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia and the Netherlands have reported one each.