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Iraq Government Announces New Security Laws --> 7 July 2004 -- Iraq's interim government today announced new security laws intended to help defeat the violent insurgency that is wracking the country.

The law, signed by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, gives Iraqi officials the right to declare emergencies and impose martial law, ban political groups, impose curfews, open mail and monitor telephones, bar demonstrations, and restrict movement of foreigners.

Interim Justice Minister Malik Dohan al-Hassan said the government realizes the new law "might restrict some liberties," but that the law also contains "a number of guarantees."

In other news, the U.S. military said today that five Iraqi soldiers were killed in a rocket attack last night on their base near Taji, north of Baghdad.

Taji is the site of a major U.S. Army base and Iraqi security facilities and has become a bastion of anti-American sentiment.

Earlier yesterday, nine people were killed and 37 wounded in a suicide car bomb in Khales, about 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

This morning, several mortar rounds rocked Baghdad's Green Zone compound that houses Iraqi government offices and the British and U.S. embassies. Reports say several people were injured.

In Kirkuk, masked gunmen attacked a police checkpoint early today, wounding four people.

The United States military also said seven U.S. Marines have been killed in the past two days during operations in Iraq's western Al-Anbar Province.

The military said four Marines were killed on 6 July while conducting "security and stability operations," while three died on 5 July.