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Shi'ites Show Strong Lead In Iraq Vote

4 February 2005 -- Iraqi election officials say with approximately 40 percent of the ballot counted, Iraq's Shiite majority have a strong lead in the country's historic elections on 30 January.

As vote counting continued today, insurgents ambushed an Iraqi army convoy near the southern city of Diwaniya, killing six troops and wounding others.

One U.S. soldier was killed and seven wounded in a bomb attack in Beiji, north of Baghdad.

One U.S. soldier was killed in Babil province south of Baghdad, and a roadside bomb attack killed another U.S. soldier near the northern city of Mosul.

In the capital, armed attackers abducted a female Italian journalist -- the eighth Italian to be kidnapped in Iraq.

(wire reports)