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Marines killed in bomb attack

Three Turkish hostages released, official says


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Turkish hostages freed; Saddam transfer set.

The family of a missing U.S. Marine pleads for his safety.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi faces daunting task.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three Marines were killed and two were wounded in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded as their humvee passed by the device, the Coalition Press Information Center said.

The improvised explosive device hit the lead vehicle in a Marine convoy, according to a U.S. soldier who was supervising the removal of the damaged humvee.

The humvee -- with flattened tires, a crumpled front end and blood splattered inside -- was hooked up to a military tow truck and hauled away Tuesday morning.

The total number of troops killed in the Iraqi war is 857.

Also Tuesday, three Turkish hostages were released by their militant captors in Iraq.

The three Turks told their government they have been freed, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official. Their kidnappers had threatened to behead the men unless Turkish companies stopped doing business with the U.S. military in Iraq.

A Turkish spokesman said the men informed the Turkish government they were returning to Turkey.

The men had been abducted by a group led by suspected al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. (Full story)

Saddam transfer set for Wednesday

The new Iraq government will assume legal custody Wednesday of former dictator Saddam Hussein and as many as 11 other key officials of his regime, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Tuesday.

Allawi said all will face trial on charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in the Iraqi Special Tribunal, set up late last year. (Full story)

He also said Hussein and the others will be charged by an Iraqi investigative judge Thursday.

The prisoners will remain in physical custody of the coalition military until the Iraqi security apparatus is ready to hold them, Allawi said, but they will be legally in Iraqi custody until their trials.

"We will likely not see the trial of Saddam and his associates for a number of months," the prime minister said. "I urge the Iraqi people to be patient."

Saddam was captured in December by U.S. forces near his hometown of Tikrit.

Marine's brother begs for his release

The brother of a U.S. Marine captured in Iraq told CNN on Tuesday that the blindfolded man shown in a video with a curved sword above his head is definitely his brother -- and he pleaded for whomever was holding him to "just release him."

"He's just a soldier doing his job like any other person," Sami Hassoun said in a telephone interview from his home in Beirut, Lebanon. "Please leave him, for the sake of God, for the sake of his mom and dad." (Full story)

The U.S. military said that Cpl. Wassef Hassoun, a Marine translator, was last seen on June 19 and reported missing on June 20. A Defense Department official said Tuesday that Hassoun had been officially classified as "captured."

In the videotape broadcast Sunday on the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera, a man identified as Hassoun appeared as the captive of armed men. His captors threatened to kill him unless U.S. military authorities release Iraqi prisoners.

"It is him, 100 percent," Sami Hassoun said. "I wish it was not him."

"We're Muslims like they are," he said. "It is not possible that Islam says to kill these people. And there's no religion in the whole world that supports a kidnapper and a killer. No morals, no ethics."

Reservists to get rare call

Thousands of Army reservists will be called to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, congressional officials were told Tuesday.

Members of the Individual Ready Reserve will be chosen for critical duties such as military police officers, infantry troops and engineers. The IRR is made up of former enlisted soldiers who served less than eight years on active duty or officers who did not resign their commission.

About 2,000 of 118,000 IRR troops already serve at some capacity with Operation Iraqi Freedom, though many of them volunteered for service, according to Pentagon officials. (Full story)

Other developments

  • Attacks appeared to focus on Iraqi police Tuesday. In Kirkuk, a police colonel was wounded and his driver killed by a roadside bomb, according to the police chief. In Mahmoudiya, an Iraqi police officer and a civilian were killed in a morning attack on the police station, a ministry official said. About the same time, two attackers were killed during a machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade assault on the police station in the Adhamiya district in northern Baghdad. In Karbala, a police officer was wounded by small arms fire in an assault on the home of police chief, according to a U.S. military spokesman.
  • Al-Jazeera reported it has received a statement and a videotape from militants who claimed to have killed 20-year-old U.S. Army Spc. Matt Maupin, missing since April 9. Pentagon officials said the video shows someone being shot, but the tape was of poor quality and the person could not be identified.
  • The British Foreign Office confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that a British civilian working as a security contractor was killed in Mosul in northern Iraq last Thursday. Julian Davies was working with the Iraqi police, his vehicle was ambushed, the office said.
  • President Bush, speaking in Istanbul on the last day of the NATO summit, said that a sovereign Iraq was a "decisive defeat for extremists and terrorists." Bush also said the rise of democracy in Iraq brings hope to the Middle East. (Full story)
  • The interim Iraqi government held its first official event. The interim president and foreign minister received credentials from the ambassadors of the United States, Australia and Denmark. The official protocol marked the establishment of diplomatic relations between the newly sovereign government and other nations.
  • In Mosul, three Kurdish Democratic Party militia members were killed and another two injured when the car they were traveling in came under small arms fire.

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