Iraq: Seven U.S. soldiers killed as Manila refuses to pullout troops before schedule

Published July 11th, 2004 - 02:00 GMT

A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. patrol near the city of Samarra killed two American troops Sunday and injured three others, the military said in a statement.  

 

Earlier, a military spokesman said that a vehicle accident near the city of Fallujah killed four US marines. "The deaths were as a result of a vehicle accident in the Camp Fallujah area and are considered non-hostile," said the spokesman for the marines who are based around the city some 50 kilometres west of Baghdad. 

 

Elsewhere, a coordinated roadside bomb attack on a U.S. convoy in northern Iraq killed a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi civilian Sunday, the American army said.  

 

The attack, in which one soldier also was wounded, started Sunday morning about 140 kilometeres south of the northern city of Mosul when a bomb went off at the side of the road, the military said in a statement. A vehicle then raced toward the patrol and fired on the soldiers, who returned fire, killing the driver, the military said.  

 

The Iraqi civilian killed by the bomb had been traveling behind the convoy, the military said.  

 

Meanwhile, a Filipino driver remains captive after his Iraqi kidnappers denied he had been freed and issued a fresh threat to kill him unless Manila showed in 24 hours it would withdraw its troops from Iraq. 

 

"Yesterday was a false hope, he was not released but we are hoping he will soon be free," a Philippine embassy source in Baghdad said when asked about Angelo de la Cruz. 

 

According to Reuters, the source said he had heard nothing since the kidnappers had extended their deadline to kill the 46-year-old driver.  

 

"The hostage will remain captive and treated as a prisoner under Islam until the last Filipino soldier leaves Iraq by latest July 20...or he will be executed," the Islamic Army in Iraq group said in a statement quoted on Al Jazeera television. 

 

"We give the Philippine government an additional 24 hours starting from 11 p.m. Iraqi time on Saturday to show it is serious about withdrawing its troops." 

 

The Philippines foreign secretary said Sunday the country will not withdraw its troops from Iraq sooner than their scheduled Aug. 20 departure as demanded by kidnappers threatening to behead dela Cruz.  

 

Government officials in Manila had said earlier de la Cruz was being taken to a Baghdad hotel and could be freed within hours, prompting his family and friends to celebrate. 

 

"We are confused about reports in the media," Yolly Layug, one of his relatives, told Reuters on Sunday. "They said he was released but he is not released. We don't know which to believe." 

 

Death threats also still hung over two Bulgarian truck drivers seized in Iraq. (albawaba.com)

© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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