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At Least Five Dead In Baghdad Blasts

14 October 2004 -- Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone has been hit by two explosions, and reports say at least five people have been killed and many wounded.

The U.S. military said the blasts appeared to be caused by "hand-carried explosives." The Green Zone houses key U.S. and Iraqi government offices and is a regular target of insurgents.

Iraqi police say five people have died in a series of assassinations today in Baghdad, and the town of Baquba. They include two army officers, a judge, and a woman journalist, who were shot by gunmen.

Police also say armed men kidnapped two Turkish and two Iraqi truck drivers in separate ambushes near Samarra in central Iraq today. Scores of foreigners have been abducted or killed since April. Insurgents have targeted foreign truck drivers, saying they supply U.S.-led forces.

Meanwhile, a donors conference for Iraq ended today in Tokyo with pledges to quicken the pace of key projects in Iraq and an expression of support for plans to hold national elections in the country in January.

Iraq received new pledges of financial help from some of the 57 countries and international organizations represented at the conference.

Iran promised $10 million, Denmark $4 million, and New Zealand just under $1 million. Bernhard Zepter, the head of the European Commission delegation attending the conference, said the commission has proposed nearly $150 million from its 2005 budget.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said at the conference's opening yesterday that promised money from last year's donors conference is arriving slowly.

(compiled from wire and staff reports)

[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]