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War Briefs

Russian convoy attacked

Moscow, April 6(Reuters): A Russian diplomatic convoy that left Baghdad today was attacked, injuring several people, the spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said.

Russian ambassador Vladimir Titorenko was in the convoy, which was heading for Syria, spokesman Alexei Gromov said. It was unclear who attacked the Russian convoy.

Gromov said the Russian foreign ministry had summoned the US and the Iraqi ambassadors. “It was demanded of the US and Iraqi sides that they take all necessary measures to safeguard the security of Russian citizens,” he said.

Hospital deluge

Geneva (Reuters): Baghdad hospitals are struggling to cope with a deluge of wounded that has stretched resources to the limit and caused growing chaos, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. “It’s certainly an emergency situation in the hospitals,” spokeswoman Antonella Notari said. “It’s extremely hectic, the hospital staff are working round the clock without respite.” She said the city’s Al Yarmouk hospital had received an average of about 100 wounded between late Friday and midday Saturday alone.

Iran martyrs

Tehran (AFP): Around half of some 200 bodies found by British troops at a former army headquarters in southern Iraq belong to Iranian soldiers killed in the two countries’ bloody 1980-88 war, the head of Iran’s missing in action department said on Sunday. “Around a hundred of the bodies discovered in the Basra military hospital are martyrs of the sacred defence whose remains were recovered during recent search operations in Shalamsheh, Az-Zubayr and Fao districts,” General Mir-Feisal Baqerzadeh told state radio.

Pope prayer

Vatican City (Reuters): Pope John Paul, one of the main voices opposed to the US-led war in Iraq, prayed for the “defenceless” civilians caught in the crossfire in Iraq and urged a quick end to the fighting. “May God bring an end to the conflict quickly to make room for a new era of pardon, love and peace,” the Pope told a gathering in St Peter’s Square.

Scribe dies

Washington (Reuters): David Bloom, co-anchor of NBC’s Today show weekend editions, died in Iraq while covering the war, the network said. He was 39. Bloom’s death was not combat related, NBC said. He died after he suffered a pulmonary embolism. Bloom was “embedded” with the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

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