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Iraqi Security Forces, U.S. Marines Make Mass Arrests

19 October 2004 -- The U.S. military says Iraqi security forces backed by U.S. Marines have arrested nearly 130 suspected insurgents south of Baghdad.

A military statement said today the arrests were made during raids over the past two days in the area, including the city of Al-Iskandariyah, some 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. The statement said there were also raids in the towns of Al-Latifiyah and Al-Yusufiyah.

The announcement came as a British-Iraqi woman in charge of the Iraqi branch of the CARE International aid agency was abducted in Baghdad.

The Arabic-language Al-Jazeera television station said the group that kidnapped Hassan did not identify itself or give any demands.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke to reporters about the kidnapping.

"I am very concerned by the reported kidnap of Margaret Hassan, the Iraq director of CARE International. Margaret Hassan is someone who has spent 30 years working in Iraq for the benefit of its people," Straw said.

The U.S. military also said three car bombs exploded today in the northern city of Mosul, killing two Iraqi civilians and wounding three.

Separately, four members of the Iraqi National Guard were killed and some 80 Iraqis were wounded in a mortar attack on the guards headquarters in Al-Mushahida, north of Baghdad.

Iraqi oil officials said saboteurs attacked one pipeline in northern Iraq, setting a section on fire and reducing exports to Turkey by two-thirds.


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