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Insurgents Kill 21 Across Iraq

18 May 2006

Authorities in Iraq say insurgents killed at least 17 Iraqis and four U.S. troops in attacks across the country, Thursday.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed seven people traveling in a mini-bus. In a separate attack in the capital, a roadside bomb near a police patrol killed at least seven people, including at least three police officers.

To the north, gunmen killed a teacher and student in Kirkuk. And in Mosul, the U.S. military says troops killed three insurgents.

Separately, the U.S. military says a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad killed four American soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter.

Elsewhere, 15 Taekwondo athletes training for possible spots on the Iraqi Olympic team were abducted west of Baghdad. Officials say their captors are demanding $100,000 for their release.

On the political front, Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki is expected to seek parliamentary approval for his cabinet on Saturday.

The critical posts of interior and defense minister are yet to be finalized. But officials say the cabinet may be presented with or without a decision on those two positions.

The prime minister's 30-day deadline for forming a government expires on Monday.

The United States says a unified Iraqi government is key to ending sectarian violence and insurgent attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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