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Iraq Mortar Strike Kills One U.S. Soldier, Wounds 34

Baghdad, 8 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Insurgents hit a U.S. military camp west of Baghdad with mortar fire, killing one soldier and wounding 34.

The U.S. command in Iraq said today that six mortar rounds exploded last night at the Logistical Base Seitz.

Later today in Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition plans to release the first 100 prisoners of a larger amnesty.

The top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, announced yesterday the U.S.-led coalition would release a total of 506 prisoners. He said it was a goodwill gesture aimed at reconciliation.

"To give impetus to those Iraqis who wish to reconcile with their countrymen, we are announcing today that the coalition will permit hundreds of currently detained Iraqis to return to their homes and to their families. Tomorrow, the coalition will release the first 100 detainees," Bremer said.

U.S.-led forces are currently holding as many as 10,000 prisoners in Iraq, including 4,000 members of an anti-Iranian group, the Mujahedin Khalq.

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