Four US Marines among seven killed in Baghdad
* Gunmen kidnap Egyptian driver
* 29 non-Iraqi Arab fighters detained
BAGHDAD: Seven people including four US Marines and two national guards were killed in separate incidents in Baghdad on Wednesday.
A heavy gunbattle broke out on the streets of central Baghad on Wednesday morning as insurgents shot at Iraqi national guards and US soldiers, supported by helicopters, minutes before the announcement of new security laws by the Iraqi government, witnesses said.
Two national guards were killed and 10 were wounded in the battle on Haifa Street, next to Al-Talaya Square on the western side of the Tigris River, a national guard lieutenant said. The Iraqi guardsmen battled back with support from US troops in Humvees and helicopters.
Four US Marines were killed by guerrillas in Baghdad, the US military said.
It said the Marines were killed on Tuesday while “conducting security and stability operations” in al-Anbar province, which includes the restive towns of Falluja and Ramadi, but gave no details.
Elsewhere, unidentified gunmen killed the son of an Iraqi tribal leader and politician in Ramadi on Tuesday night, neighbours said.
They said Hussein Amir Abdel Jabbar al-Ali was shot dead in his car, along with two bodyguards.
Ali’s father heads the influential Dulaim tribe and the governing council in al-Anbar province, which forms part of a Sunni heartland at the centre of an anti-US insurgency.
Unidentified Iraqi militants have kidnapped an Egyptian driver who was delivering petrol to the US military, Al Jazeera television reported on Wednesday.
Jazeera aired videotape from the unnamed group, which said it represents the “legitimate Iraqi resistance”, showing four armed men standing behind the seated hostage, which the television named as Sayed Mohammed Sayed al-Arabawi. Jazeera said the gunmen kidnapped Arabawi because he was collaborating with the US-led coalition forces in Iraq. It said he was seized while driving a petrol truck from Saudi Arabia but did not give any details about the group’s demands.
The Egyptian embassy in Baghdad said it did not have any information about the hostage.
Three blasts echoed across central Baghdad on Wednesday and wisps of smoke rose from the Green Zone compound that houses Iraqi government offices and the US and British embassies, witnesses said. Three people in a nearby residential district were slightly wounded when two mortar shells hit a medical centre close to the offices of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s political party, police and witnesses said.
Iraq’s interim government said on Wednesday it had detained 29 non-Iraqi Arabs for taking part in an insurgency that has wracked the country.
Justice Minister Malek al-Hassan showed the list of foreign fighters at a news conference to unveil a new security law that gives the government wider powers to fight insurgents.
“They are all Arabs regrettably,” he said. agencies