Developments in Iraq on Sunday

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Philippines government rejected an insurgent group's ultimatum to pull its small peacekeeping force out of Iraq early. The group has threatened to kill a Filipino man it is holding hostage.

A roadside bomb attack on a U.S. patrol in the city of Samarra, a hotbed of violence 60 miles north of Baghdad, killed two soldiers Sunday afternoon and wounded three others, the military said.

An attack on a U.S. convoy in Beiji, 90 miles south of the northern city of Mosul, began Sunday morning when a roadside bomb exploded. An enemy vehicle then raced toward the convoy, firing at the soldiers, who shot back and killed the driver, the military said. A soldier and a civilian traveling behind the patrol were killed. A second soldier was injured and evacuated.

A deadline for two other hostages -- Bulgarian truck drivers held by a separate group demanding the release of all Iraqi detainees -- expired Saturday morning. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said Sunday he had unconfirmed information the two were alive.

To prevent the infiltration of foreign fighters, Syria and Iraq agreed to set up a special force to patrol their 360-mile shared border, Iraqi deputy prime minister Barham Saleh said Sunday in Damascus, Syria, after meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, said Sunday the country would never again threaten its neighbors and would honor the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as well as international agreements banning the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Demonstrators, some supporting Saddam's ousted regime, others opposed to it, took to the streets of Iraq on Sunday. In Baqouba north of Baghdad, about 100 people marched through the shopping district, chanting pro-Saddam slogans, waving rifles and carrying posters of the former leader. Meanwhile, demonstrators in Baghdad held a mock trial and execution of Saddam, hoisting an effigy from a hangman's noose setting it on fire.

-- The Associated Press

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