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Iraq Transition

Fourteen Marines, civilian killed in bombing


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A roadside bomb blast killed 14 Marines and a civilian interpreter Wednesday as they rode in a vehicle near Haditha, Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

The military said the bomb struck the amphibious assault vehicle about 1 mile (about 2 kilometers) south of Haditha, a city along the Euphrates River about 135 miles (217 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. The military said one Marine was wounded.

The 14 Marines were all attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), the Pentagon said.

On Monday, six Marine sniper team members were killed in a firefight near Haditha. The six were attached to the same unit as the 14. A suicide car bomb killed a seventh Marine Monday in nearby Hit. (Casualties identified)

In the past 10 days, 43 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. That brings the number of U.S. troops killed in the war to 1,820, according to U.S. military reports.

Haditha and Hit are Sunni Arab cities along the Euphrates River. Hit is 95 miles (152 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi troops recently have been trying to clear insurgents out of both cities.

The 21 Marines were killed this week by "a very lethal and, unfortunately, adaptable enemy" in towns along the Euphrates River, said Brig Gen. Carter Ham at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.

"They are dangerous and they certainly have a capability," Ham said. "But whether or not they have an ability to freely operate in that area, I think not."

U.S. journalist found dead

U.S. freelance journalist Steven Vincent was found shot to death in the southern Iraqi city of Basra early Wednesday, officials said.

Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog group, condemned the killing, saying "Vincent's death brings to 64 the number of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003."

A Basra police official said Vincent and his female interpreter, Nuriya Tiays, had been abducted about 12:30 a.m. (4:30 p.m. Tuesday) in the Ashar area of central Basra.

Vincent's body was found about a 10-minute drive from the place where he and Tiays were kidnapped, the official said. Tiays was shot in the chest and was being treated in a hospital.

Vincent was in Basra writing a book about the history of the city. He also maintained an Internet blog about his life in Iraq.

The New York Times published on Sunday an editorial written by Vincent about the growing influence of Islamic militants in the largely Shiite city of Basra and British efforts to train new security forces. He wrote that security forces were heavily influenced by such groups as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. (Full story)

Other developments

  • Iraq's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that representatives of the Iraqi, Turkish and American governments met to discuss security along the Iraqi-Turkish border in the north.
  • The Iraqi Islamic Party politburo on Wednesday condemned a U.S. raid Tuesday at the Baghdad home of Adnan al-Dulaimi, spokesman for the General Conference of Sunnis. The U.S. military said it believed a wanted suspect was at Dulaimi's home and he was detained for 10 minutes and treated with respect. The politburo said forces "messed around with the contents of the house, terrorized women and children, tied Dr. Dulaimi's hands and blindfolded him for not a short time."
  • Two Iraqi police officers were assassinated within 12 hours of each other in Baghdad, police said Wednesday. The first police officer was killed about 9 p.m. Tuesday, when gunmen opened fire on his car in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amiriya as he returned home, police said. Gunmen killed the second police officer about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as he left home in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jami'a, police said.
  • The Pentagon on Wednesday said a committee on transferring security responsibilities from U.S. authorities to Iraqi forces held its first meeting Tuesday in Baghdad. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, said the Joint Commission for Conditions-Based Transition "developed a work plan on how they're going to conduct their activities. They'll have a smaller working group that'll meet twice weekly," and they will make recommendations to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari by September 26.
  • CNN's Enes Dulami, Cal Perry and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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