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Death toll for U.S.-led coalition in Iraq tops 1,000

Among coalition troops killed in Iraq in recent weeks were, clockwise from top left, U.S. Marines Rafael Reynosa, Bum R. Lee, Justin Hunt and British Fusilier Gordon Campbell Gentle.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In a grim milestone, the number of deaths in the American-led coalition in Iraq surpassed 1,000 this week.

The latest reported deaths include a U.S. soldier who died from wounds in fighting Thursday in Baghdad, an American soldier killed in a Samarra attack Wednesday and another who died in a nonbattle-related incident Thursday.

The deaths bring multinational fatalities -- both in combat and "nonhostile" situations -- to 1,002 since the start of the war in March 2003. U.S. military deaths now total 881.

There are no reliable figures for the Iraqi deaths in the war.

Bulgaria has lost six soldiers in the conflict, but the nation's president, Georgi Parvanov said in an interview with Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera that "we won't change our foreign policies because of the kidnappings."

Both Bulgaria and the Philippines are working to free their citizens kidnapped in Iraq by suspected insurgents.

Kidnap victims

The two abducted Bulgarians and Filipino are truck drivers. Militants in recent months have abducted truckers because they were transporting goods to U.S.-led forces.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry identified the hostages as Ivailo Kepov and Georgi Lazov.

In a video aired Thursday by Al-Jazeera, an Iraqi insurgent group threatened to behead the two Bulgarians within 24 hours if the United States does not release all prisoners in Iraq.

Video showed the two Bulgarians sitting with their hands tied while three armed men in masks stood behind them.

The insurgents, calling themselves the Unification and Holy War group, read a statement telling the Bulgarian government its alliances with the United States have jeopardized the safety of its citizens in Iraq. (Full story)

The Philippine government said the Filipino driver, identified as Angelo dela Cruz, was based out of Qatar and was abducted while driving through the Iraqi capital.

Al-Jazeera reported the abduction Wednesday, saying an Islamic militant group claimed responsibility and threatened to kill the man unless the Philippines withdraws its troops from Iraq.

The Philippines initially contributed about 100 troops to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. There are now a little more than 50 Filipino troops in Iraq.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the country's Department of Labor and Employment to stop the processing of workers headed to Iraq. The government said there are "no less than 1,000 Filipino workers there hired directly by Iraqi companies or other foreign companies."

The Filipino leader said she has sent an envoy to spearhead efforts to release the hostage.

"The Iraq team is doing all that is humanly possible to get the victim home safely," she said.

Big sweep of weapons

On Friday night in central Baghdad, one child was killed and another child and a man were wounded when attackers fired a mortar that struck a house, a Ministry of Health official said.

Iraqi forces are searching for insurgents' weapons.

In Mosul in northern Iraq Friday, Iraqi security forces seized "the largest amount of munitions and weapons since the transfer of sovereignty in an early morning sweep."

Discovered were "21 mortar rounds of various sizes, six rocket propelled grenade launchers, 43 hand grenades, 10 tank-launched rockets, two SA-7 surface-to-air missile launchers, a bag of C4 plastic explosive with seven blasting caps, 25 82mm mortar rounds, nine RPG rounds, two RPG sights, five 155mm artillery rounds, five 60mm mortars with a mortar tube, six AK-47s, one 120mm artillery round, a large bag of TNT and bomb-making accessories."

Four people suspected of owning the weapons were detained and others were held for questioning.

Marine headed to Germany for debriefing

Marine Cpl. Wassef Hassoun arrived Friday at the U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany, in the hands of fellow Marines for the first time since his disappearance last month. (Full story)

The 24-year-old translator disappeared June 19 and resurfaced this week in Lebanon. Hassoun was listed as "captured" in Iraq after being seen on video blindfolded with a sword over his head.

Hassoun will undergo a medical examination at nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Marine spokesman Maj. Nat Fahy said.

The military did not announce how long Hassoun would be at Landstuhl, but CNN learned that he would be flown to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, after his stay.

Pentagon officials said Hassoun came to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on Thursday with members of his family. He apparently arrived the day before at the home of relatives in his native city of Tripoli, Lebanon, a source close to the family said.

It's unknown how Hassoun got to his family's home in Tripoli, some 500 miles (805 kilometers) away from where he was last seen at his unit's base in Fallujah, Iraq.

Al-Jazeera aired a video June 27 showing Hassoun blindfolded with a sword above his head. A narrator on the tape said the captive would be killed if the United States did not free jailed Iraqis. There were conflicting reports on Hassoun's fate since then, including Islamic Web sites claiming he had been beheaded.

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