Iraqis line up for gas; violence kills 17
Updated: 2005-12-31 08:39
Two more U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq as the year wound down Friday,
putting the American military death toll at 841 so far ！ just five short of
2004's lost lives despite political progress and dogged efforts to quash the
In Baghdad, hundreds of cars lined up at gas stations as word spread that
Iraq's largest oil refinery shut down two weeks ago because of threats of
insurgent attacks. Nearly three years after the U.S.-led invasion, a fuel crisis
again threatens to cripple a country with the world's third-largest proven oil
Violence went on unabated Friday, with at least 17 people killed in
shootings, mortar attacks and a suicide car bombing in Baghdad. In the most
serious incident, police said nine people were killed in a drive-by shooting ！
apparently because they were drinking alcohol in public. Two Iraqi Army captains
were also gunned down in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, as they drove
A senior Sudanese diplomat said his country closed its embassy in Baghdad in
an effort to win the release of six kidnapped employees ！ including one
"A statement was issued by the Sudanese government to close the embassy in
Iraq to win the release of our kidnapped citizens," Charge d'affairs Mohamed
Ahmed Khalil told The Associated Press. He added that the embassy's 12 employees
would leave Monday.
Motorists queue for petrol at a gas station in
Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 30, 2005. [AP]
Al-Qaida in Iraq had threatened Thursday to kill five Sudanese on Saturday
unless the country removed its diplomatic mission from Iraq.
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry reported on Dec. 24 that six of its embassy
employees were kidnapped ！ including the mission's second secretary, Abdel
Moneam Mohammad Tom. It was not clear if the al-Qaida statement was referring to
the same group.
The two new deaths of U.S. military personnel were announced Friday by the
American military. A bomb killed one soldier when it struck his vehicle in
Baghdad on Friday, while the second soldier was shot and killed in the western
city of Fallujah.
Their deaths brought the number of U.S. military members killed so far in
2005 to 841, of whom 64 died in December. A total of 846 troops died in 2004 and
485 in 2003. The worst month in 2005 was January with 106 fatalities, followed
by November with 96 and August with 85.
The United States hopes that as more Iraqi police and army forces are
trained, they will slowly take over responsibility for security from American
troops. Much of that expectation hinges on the ability of Iraq's ethnic and
sectarian groups to form a broad-based government that will have the legitimacy
to deflate the Sunni Arab-led insurgency.