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20 July 2004 -- A Filipino hostage in Iraq was freed and handed over to the United Arab Emirates embassy today in Baghdad.

The release of the man came after Manila yesterday pulled its last troops from Iraq in accordance with the hostage-takers' demands.

Meanwhile, a militant group claiming ties to top terrorist suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi today demanded that Japan withdraw its troops from Iraq or face attack.

In other developments, four people were killed and at least two others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near Al-Baquba, northeast of the Iraqi capital.

In southern Iraq today, the coordinator on the provincial council of Al-Basrah (Nazim Tawfiq al-Anachi) was gunned down along with his bodyguard and driver.

(RFE/RL, wire agencies)
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