Home>News Center>World

Iraq insurgents kill 3 foreigners in Mosul
Updated: 2004-12-18 08:03

Insurgents killed at least three foreigners on Friday in Mosul, a northern city that became a stronghold after Fallujah fell to U.S. and Iraqi forces. Militants also set ablaze a pipeline near the capital ! a rare attack on oil infrastructure in a populated area.

An Iraqi boy looks at the bodies of men laying next to their burning car after they were attacked by gunmen in the northern Iraq city of Mosul December 17, 2004. Insurgents attacked the car carrying at least three Westerners, killing them and their Iraqi driver, and chopping off the head of one victim, local witnesses said. [Reuters]
An Iraqi boy looks at the bodies of men laying next to their burning car after they were attacked by gunmen in the northern Iraq city of Mosul December 17, 2004. Insurgents attacked the car carrying at least three Westerners, killing them and their Iraqi driver, and chopping off the head of one victim, local witnesses said. [Reuters]
The U.S. Embassy confirmed the name of an American contractor taken hostage six weeks ago in Baghdad ! a man who has not been seen or heard from since ! identifying him as Roy Hallums, a 56-year-old worker for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army.

His wife, Susan Hallums of Corona, Calif., said in a telephone interview Friday that she has not heard from the kidnappers.

"I want to plead for his life and send out prayers and hope that he will be released," said Hallums, who is separated from her husband, the father of their two daughters.

The continuing bloodshed has dissuaded Iraq's political parties and coalitions from organizing public rallies ahead of the country's Jan. 30 parliamentary elections, the first free vote since the overthrow of the monarchy 45 years ago.

The violence has been so widespread that preparations for the election have barely begun in the three central provinces that include Baghdad, Mosul and the battleground cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Although the election campaign officially kicked off Wednesday, so far only the Iraqi Communist Party ! which is part of the U.S.-installed interim government ! was known to have held a public gathering.

"We are endeavoring to establish a democratic, federal country ... that enjoys security and peace and in which religious, national and sectarian fraternity will be established," Minister of Culture Mufeed al-Jazairi told several hundred activists waving the party's red banners in Baghdad on Friday.

Only hours earlier, insurgents lobbed rocket-propelled grenades at an Australian compound inside Baghdad's Green Zone, the heavily fortified complex that houses the interim government and the U.S. Embassy.

One of the rounds struck the area where Australian troops are housed, spokeswoman Lt. Helen Suttie said in Canberra. There were no casualties, she said.

Australia has more than 900 soldiers stationed in the region. The troops in the Green Zone are part of a 120-strong contingent providing security for Australian diplomats and officials.

Also Friday, a government official said that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s defense minister, who surrendered to U.S. forces last year, will join another notorious general ! known as Chemical Ali ! in the dock when judicial proceedings against top figures of the Baathist regime open next week.

Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad gave himself up in September 2003 at a coalition military base in Mosul. He was not considered to be a war crimes suspect and many had expected that he would be freed after being questioned.

In contrast, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who earned the nickname Chemical Ali after using poison gas to kill thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, is considered a leading defendant.

"Chemical Ali and Sultan will be the first to face the hearings," the official, who is familiar with the proceedings, told The Associated Press.

In Mosul, third-largest city with over 1 million inhabitants, attackers ambushed a car and killed all four of its occupants. The bodies of the four men, including one whose head was almost severed, were seen lying on the road alongside their burning car.

Police Capt. Zeid Waseem said police received reports that three of the dead were foreigners but their nationalities were not immediately known.

However, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a group of Turkish Embassy guards, on their way from Turkey to Baghdad, came under a terrorist attack in Mosul and that several were killed or wounded. It could not immediately be confirmed if the embassy guards were the people ambushed in the car.

Insurgent attacks in Mosul have increased dramatically since the U.S.-led operation last month to retake Fallujah from the guerrillas, and efforts by the multinational forces and the interim government's troops to pacify the city have met with little success.

On Thursday, Gen. George W. Casey, commander of the multinational force, said his troops would mount a "concerted effort" throughout the region to boost security ahead of elections.

South of Baghdad, an explosion and fire on an oil pipeline near the capital's Dora refinery sent thick black billowing smoke pouring into the sky.

U.S. troops sealed off the area. Insurgents regularly attack the country's oil infrastructure, but they usually pick remote desert locations.

Hallums, the American hostage who was identified Friday, was seized in an attack Nov. 1 after a gunbattle in which an Iraqi guard and one attacker were killed.

Hallums, Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy, a Nepalese worker, Inus Dewari, and three Iraqis employed by the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company were taken away after the gunfight. The Iraqi hostages and the Nepalese were freed later.

"As far as we know, Hallums is still being held captive along with the Filipino and we have no reason to believe otherwise," said U.S. Embassy spokesman Bob Callahan. "We are operating on the assumption that Hallums is still alive."

Twelve Americans have been kidnapped or are missing in Iraq. At least three Americans have been killed ! all beheaded in abductions claimed by an al-Qaida-linked group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

China prepares to enact law against secession



GM charges Chery for alleged mini car piracy



EU hints to lift China arms ban in June



More cash allotted to cut poverty



Unemployment rate lower than expected



Info chief promises media better service


  Japan delays sanctioning North Korea
  Saddam's defense minister faces hearing
  Japan, US sign missile defense agreement
  EU requirements dismay Turkish officials
  AP: Yushchenko poisoned by worst dioxin
  Sharon offers state to Palestinians
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?