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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314997 Iraq / Sitrep (S/L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=4/13/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE= IRAQ SITREP (S&L)

NUMBER=2-314997

BYLINE=NICK SIMEONE

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

INTRO: In Iraq, the F-B-I is involved in trying to secure the release of civilians from 12 countries who have been taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents. Four Italian security guards are the latest foreigners to be reported abducted, while nine Americans still remain unaccounted for. Correspondent Nick Simeone reports U-S officials in Baghdad say acts of terrorism may increase as the June 30th date for a handover of Iraqi sovereignty draws near.

TEXT: Coalition spokesman Dan Senor says 40 foreign civilians are being held hostage in Iraq.

/// SENOR ACT ///

The F-B-I is working with coalition forces and with Iraqi security forces to seek out the hostage takers and the hostages. We will not negotiate with terrorists and kidnappers.

/// END ACT ///

And he is warning Iraqis - as well as civilians in Iraq from coalition countries - terrorism may only increase before and after the scheduled June 30th handover of power.

/// SECOND SENOR ACT ///

We recognize there will still be a major terror threat here after the Iraqi people have sovereignty.

/// END ACT ///

Meanwhile, about 25-hundred coalition troops are poised to move into the Shiite holy city of Najaf where General Mark Kimmitt says anti-coalition militias led by rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pose a significant threat.

/// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

/// KIMMITT ACT ///

The force that is being brought in that region is powerful, it will be disciplined and it will be capable of conducting the full spectrum of military operations.

/// END ACT ///

Those operations were put on hold while a Shiite pilgrimage to the city was underway. U-S troops briefly detained a representative of the Shiite cleric at a Baghdad hotel Tuesday, but released him after judging him not to be a threat.

/// SADR ACT IN ARABIC AND FADE ///

While coalition forces are trying to find him, Moqtada al-Sadr gave an interview to Lebanese television in which he urged his followers to continue fighting against the occupation even, he says, if he has to sacrifice his life for his country.

/// ACT OF MARINE GUNFIRE ///

Meanwhile, in western Iraq resistance has been coming from Sunni fighters, and more fighting broke out in the town of Fallujah with U-S Marines using heavy weapons against insurgents. But General Kimmitt says Marines have been generally observing a ceasefire.

/// SECOND KIMMITT ACT ///

Many of these attacks that are being conducted by the enemy in Fallujah are meant to be provocative.

/// END ACT ///

At least two more American troops have been killed in Iraq during the past two days. (SIGNED)

NEB/NJS/KBK/RAE



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