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Bulgaria Vows To Maintain Iraq Policies

9 July 2004 -- Bulgaria's foreign minister says its policies will not change because purported militants in Iraq are threatening to kill two Bulgarian hostages.

Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi told state radio today that Bulgaria has contacted the U.S. government about reports that militants said they will kill the two civilian truck drivers unless U.S.-led forces free prisoners. But he gave no other details.

The threat, reportedly from a group headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, comes in a videotape aired by the Al-Jazeera television station.

Another group of militants threatened yesterday to kill a Filipino hostage unless the Phillipines withdrew its troops from Iraq.

Elsewhere in Iraq yesterday, five U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi guards were killed in a mortar attack in the city of Samarra some 100 kilometers north of Baghdad. Another U.S. soldier died in Baghdad yesterday when armed men attacked his patrol.