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Explosions heard near Japan camp in Iraq
Updated: 2005-07-05 08:42

Several large explosions were heard early Tuesday near Japanese troops' camp in southern Iraq, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, Japanese defense officials said.

Japanese soldiers delivering humanitarian support in the region said they heard large explosive noises several times during the night and officials are now investigating the case, Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces said.

Officials said it was not immediately known whether the reported explosions were attacks aimed at the Japanese base in Samawah, southern Iraq.

Japan has more than 500 troops near Samawah on a non-combat humanitarian mission that ends in December.

An explosion last month that damaged a Japanese military vehicle in Samawah led the troops to temporarily suspend their activities outside the base, which include rebuilding roads and schools and supplying clean water to residents.

That incident intensified criticism at home of the mission, and prompted opposition lawmakers to step up pressure for early withdrawal. Polls have indicated the Japanese public is deeply divided over the country's troop dispatch to Iraq.

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