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Suicide Car Bomb Kills 18 Iraqis

2 January 2005 -- A suicide car bomber today killed 18 Iraqi National Guards and a civilian riding in a bus outside a U.S. military base north of Baghdad.

A U.S. Army spokesman, Master Sergeant Robert Powell, said six National Guards were wounded in the attack near Balad, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The attack came one day after a group linked to the wanted Jordanian terrorist Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi reportedly killed five members of the Iraqi National Guard. A video released on the Internet showed the five men being executed by masked militants.

The violence comes as Iraq is preparing for national elections on 30 January. Insurgents trying to drive out U.S. occupation forces and topple Iraq's U.S.-backed government have killed hundreds of Iraqi security force members since a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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