Iraq: Abducted Italian journalist begs for life
An abducted Italian journalist appeared on a video Wednesday, pleading for her life and calling on U.S.-led forces to get out of Iraq. "You must end the occupation, it's the only way we can get out of this situation," Giuliana Sgrena said in the videotape, delivered to Associated Press Television News.
"I ask the Italian government, the Italian people struggling against the occupation, I ask my husband, 'Please, help me,'" Sgrena said in French. "You must do all you can to end the occupation. I'm counting on you, you can help me."
The 56-year-old reporter for the communist daily Il Manifesto was kidnapped earlier this month outside a mosque in Baghdad.
"Show all the pictures I have taken of the Iraqis, of the children hit by the cluster bombs, of the women. I beg you. Help me, help me to demand the withdrawal of the troops, help me spare my life."
At another point, she waved the camera to stop, apparently overcome by emotion.
"These people don't want foreigners here, nobody should come to Iraq at this time," she said. "Not even journalists. Nobody."
On the tape, Sgrena said she had arrived in Iraq at the end of January "to witness the situation of these people who are dying everyday. "Thousands of people are in prison, children, the elderly, women are raped, people die because they have nothing to eat, no electricity, no water."
Eight Iraqis were killed overnight in attacks north of Baghdad, security and medical sources said Wednesday. Near Dhuluiyah, 73 kilometres north of the capital, three soldiers were killed and two others injured by a bomb concealed in the burnt-out shell of car abandoned on the roadside.
In Dujail, 40 kilometres north of the capital, two Iraqi soldiers and an Iraqi contractor were killed in a mortar attack on an army base, local police said.
Clashes broke out overnight in the town of Baquba, 48 kilometres north of Baghdad, leaving one Iraqi policeman and two gunmen dead, security sources said.
Police also said two armed men were killed in clashes with American soldiers in the town of Samarra, about 120 kilometres north of Baghdad.
In the northern town of Mosul, police Lieutenant Colonel Halab Abdelrahman escaped an assassination attempt that killed his driver and wounded his bodyguard, police said.
In other violence, an Iraqi woman was killed near the town of Tuz and her husband injured, when Iraqi forces manning a checkpoint apparently opened fire on their vehicle.
And the US military announced Wednesday that a soldier was killed in action on Tuesday in the western province of Al-Anbar.