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Italy To Pull Out Of Iraq This Year

Italian Defense Minister Arturo Parisi (right) with General Natalino Madeddu, commander in chief of Italian forces in Iraq (file photo) (epa) June 7, 2006 -- Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema says Rome will pull all its troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.

D'Alema today discussed the plan with Iraqi leaders in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Italy currently has 2,700 troops based in Al-Nasiriyah, southeast of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, at least six people, including four policemen, were killed in a series of attacks in Baghdad on June 7. The day also brought news of the death of one U.S. soldier, on June 5. The U.S. military say he was killed in a roadside bombing in the capital.

In other news, reports quote Iraqi Interior and Defense Ministry officials as saying that 10 of the 50 or so transportation workers abducted in Baghdad on June 5 have been released. Police found them on a street in the capital late on June 6.

The day will see the release of 500 prisoners from Iraqi- and U.S.-run prisons. The release is part of a prisoner amnesty announced on June 6 by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In total, 2,500 prisoners are to be freed. Al-Maliki said the move is part of an effort to achieve "reconciliation and national dialogue." Those to be released are being selected by a committee.

Loyalists of Iraq's deposed leader, Saddam Hussein, and his Ba'ath Party will not be freed.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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