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Gunmen Ambush U.S. Convoy In Iraq

23 January 2005 --Gunmen ambushed a U.S. military convoy in northern Iraq today, killing a driver.

Witnesses say the assailants attacked the convoy with small arms fire as it moved south on a highway toward Baghdad.

A Turkish fuel tanker traveling with the U.S. convoy was incinerated and the driver killed. The U.S. vehicles turned back
toward Mosul.

Elsewhere, masked gunmen fired on a polling station to be used in the 30 January elections in Mosul's eastern sector. No
one was hurt in the attack.

Six Iraqis, including a mother and her child, were killed in bombings north of the capital Baghdad.

Elsewhere, at least 12 Iraqis were killed when a fire apparently caused by a short circuit swept through a hospital in the southern town of Al-Nasiriyah.

Meanwhile, Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said he hopes Iraq's national elections will help put an end to violence in the country. He also said it was too early to talk about a withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from the country.

Also today, the Chinese Embassy in Baghdad said the eight released hostages have been handed over to China's diplomats. The former hostages were reported to be unharmed.

(compiled from wire reports)

[For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005".]

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