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War Briefs

Missing soldiers found

As Sayliya Camp (Qatar), April 13 (Reuters): Seven American soldiers were found safe and well in Iraq today after their captors apparently fled from US Marines advancing on Saddam Hussein’s crumbling northern bastion of Tikrit.

“Someone came up to our Marines moving along the road headed for Tikrit and said ‘here shortly you’re going to come in contact with a number of Americans, just so you know’,” US war commander General Tommy Franks told Fox television. “The tip came from an Iraqi and I believe our guys picked them up on the road.”

A CNN reporter said the six men and one woman emerged from helicopters and were taken into ambulances near Baghdad, before being flown out on a transport plane which, military sources said, was heading to Kuwait.

Five ran out of the helicopter at a US-controlled airstrip and two walked slowly, apparently injured. One soldier raised a fist, another had his arm in a sling. CNN said the woman left the helicopter limping.

Embassy looted

Beijing (AP): China on Sunday said its embassy in Baghdad was attacked by looters and demanded US help in protecting the building and replacing stolen items, the official Xinhua news agency reported. China’s ambassador to Iraq Zhang Weiqiu, who withdrew with the rest of the embassy staff to Jordan before US forces arrived, was quoted as saying that the chaos in Baghdad since Iraqi resistance ended on Wednesday was regrettable and peace and order must be restored. China has asked for talks with the US to ask for “effective measures to prevent any further infringement upon the Chinese embassy in Iraq and replace the stolen articles”, the report said.

Israel deals

Jerusalem (Reuters): Israeli companies are in negotiations with US and British firms to be part of the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure, the Maariv reported on Sunday. The newspaper did not mention specific companies involved in seeking to be part of the estimated $100-billion rebuilding project but said they were in the electronics, communications and construction sectors.

Suicide vests

As Sayliya Camp, Qatar (Reuters): US Marines found 310 explosive-packed vests for suicide bombers at an unspecified location in Baghdad, US military officials said on Sunday. The cache, found in a school on Friday, included 160 vests that combined explosives with ball bearings, making them more lethal, US Central Command said in a statement. Sixty of them were made of black leather and designed to be worn over clothing, it said.

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