Developments in Iraq on Thursday

Friday, July 23, 2004

Police discovered a decapitated body in an orange jumpsuit and a head in a bag on the banks of the Tigris River, authorities said Thursday, prompting fears that a second Bulgarian hostage has been killed.

The deepening hostage crises across Iraq led Kenya, facing an ultimatum by militants to behead three of its citizens in captivity, to tell its people Thursday to leave Iraq. The kidnappings have further complicated Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's efforts to persuade reluctant nations to join the U.S.-led coalition and send troops here.

In new violence, insurgents fought a running gunbattle with U.S. soldiers on Haifa Street in central Baghdad during a sweep of suspected militants, officials said. Six Iraqis were wounded, Health Ministry official Saad al-Amili said. Iraqi forces arrested 270 people, including several "non-Iraqi Arabs," and discovered a huge cache of weapons, Interior Ministry official Sabah Khadum said.

U.S. Marines announced that they killed 25 insurgents, wounded 17 and captured 25 others during a gunbattle in the western city of Ramadi on Wednesday. Fourteen Marines were injured, none with life-threatening wounds, the Marines said.

-- The Associated Press

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