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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Militants Behead 3 Kurd Hostages in Iraq

Another 3 beheaded. This time they are Iraqi Kurds. By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Militants sawed off the heads of three hostages believed to be Iraqi Kurds in a grisly videotape that surfaced Sunday, hours after Iraq's prime minister said January elections would be held on schedule and asserted that American and Iraqi troops were winning the fight against an increasingly bold insurgency.

In another sign of continuing instability 17 months into the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, a suicide car bomb killed three people in Samarra - a northern city that U.S. and Iraqi commanders have portrayed as a success story in their attempts to put down the insurgency.

Over the past week, about 300 people have been killed in escalating violence, including bombings, street fighting and U.S. air strikes. Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned there could not be "credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now."

But Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who spoke with reporters after a meeting with British leader Tony Blair in London, said his interim government was determined "to stick to the timetable of the elections," which are due by Jan. 31.

Read the rest here.

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