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Thursday, December 28

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Editor's Note: The CNN Wire is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents and producers, and The CNN Wire editors. "Posted" times are Eastern Daylight.

Iran: U.S. releases two Iranian diplomats held after Baghdad raid

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two Iranian diplomats detained by the U.S. military after a raid in Baghdad on Dec. 21 were released Friday after efforts by the Iraqi foreign ministry, according to IRNA, Iran's official news agency.

IRNA quoted Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, confirming their release and saying "Iraqi pressure (on American Forces) resulted in the release of the diplomats."

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie was present when the two diplomats were handed over to the Iranian embassy officials in Baghdad, IRNA reported.

The two Iranians were among 10 men seized in a raid in Baghdad last week. (Posted 3:07 a.m.)

Landmine explosion kills one civilian during heavy shopping in Kashmiri capital

SRINAGAR, Indian-administered Kashmir (CNN) -- Police said one civilian was killed when a landmine exploded near a military barricade in the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday, two days prior to the beginning of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Witnesses told CNN the explosion in Srinagar shattered windows near the blast site and sent civilians shopping in the downtown area into a panic.

Despite the anticipation of the upcoming holiday, locals packed into the markets in search of sacrificial animals, food and clothing.

--From Journalist Mukhtar Ahmad (Posted 2:43 a.m.)

Somali PM expected to return to Mogadishu Friday; Ethiopian troops seen occupying former U.S. embassy

MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- Somalis who lived the past six months under the rules of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) began shaving their beards and changing their clothes as Ethiopian-backed Somali forces took control of Mogadishu Friday, on the heels of the Islamic fighters' retreat.

Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi, whose transitional government has the backing of the United Nations, was expected to arrive in the capital city Friday morning, but many of his cabinet ministers were already there organizing the takeover that began Thursday when the first troops entered Mogadishu, according to Omar Faruk Osman, secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists. (Posted 2:25 a.m.)

Body of U.S. climber identified

BEIJING (CNN) -- Authorities have identified the body of one of two American climbers who had been missing on a mountain in southwest China as Charlie Fowler, a spokeswoman for Fowler's sister told CNN, citing the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Arlene Burns, spokeswoman for the search, said Wednesday that teams would return to Genyen Peak in Sichuan province early Thursday to retrieve the body.

The other climber -- Christine Boskoff, who has not been found -- is presumed dead, and may be buried in the deep snow, Burns said.

Fowler's body was found at an elevation of about 17,000 feet on Genyen Peak, also known as Genie Mountain, which is 20,354 feet high. (Posted 2:24 a.m.)

James Brown viewing in Harlem

From CNN's Catherine Clifford

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Thousands of fans gathered in Harlem Thursday to pay respects to legendary entertainer James Brown, whose body was borne in a white carriage drawn by two white horses on a mile-long procession down Lenox Avenue.

Fans followed the carriage singing "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," one of the singer's many hit songs.

The procession ended at the Apollo Theater, where Brown made his 1956 debut. (Posted 2:24 a.m.)

Officials: Saddam Hussein to be executed 'this weekend'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is expected to be executed "this weekend," administration officials -- who said he would first be transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody -- told CNN Thursday.

At least one U.S. official told CNN that Hussein could transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody within the next day.

But Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room," cautioned about being too specific because, she said, the timing of the execution is ultimately up to the Iraqi government.

Hussein was sentenced on Nov. 5 to death by hanging for his role in the Dujail massacre of 1982. (Posted 9:02 p.m.)

London police arrest 4 men wanted by Rwanda for genocide

LONDON (CNN) -- London's Metropolitan Police Thursday arrested four Rwandans on provisional extradition warrants charging them with crimes related to the mass killings of members of the Tutsi ethnic group.

Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutus in the 1994 genocide.

According to a release from the Metropolitan police, the Rwandan government requested the men's extradition.

The warrants allege that each of the men killed "members of the Tutsi ethnic group with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, that group" and conspired with and aided and abetted others to do so.

All four will appear at Magistrate Court in Westminster on Friday. (Posted 9:01 p.m.)

North Carolina bar files ethics charges against prosecutor in Duke lacrosse rape case

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNN) -- North Carolina's bar filed a complaint Thursday against the district attorney prosecuting the Duke lacrosse rape case, accusing him of ethical violations related to statements he made to the news media about the case.

The 17-page complaint, filed before the bar's Disciplinary Hearing Commission, accuses District Attorney Michael Nifong (prono: NIGH-fong) of telling reporters that the Duke players were refusing to cooperate with the investigation and that the players were refusing to make statements to local law enforcement authorities and improperly commented on tests involved in the investigation.

It also accuses him of improperly commenting on evidence and testimony he expected would be presented in trial; improperly giving his opinion about the alleged guilt of the players; improperly trying to explain the absence of incriminating evidence; improperly commenting on the character, credibility and reputation of the accused; improperly expressing his personal opinion about the guilt of the suspects and, in doing so, risking prejudicing any criminal trial.

Punishment can range from a letter of warning to disbarment. (Posted 7:34 p.m.)

Sheehan arrested outside Bush's ranch

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan was arrested Thursday afternoon outside President Bush's ranch, according to Tela Mange with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Mange said that Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq, and four others were arrested for blocking the road leading to the ranch. Mange said officers asked Sheehan and the others repeatedly to get out of the roadway, and they refused.

"She told us if you want us to get out of the road, you're going to have to arrest us," Mange said. "So we did." (Posted 6:22 p.m.)

7 Police officers indicted for shooting deaths on Danziger Bridge

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- A Orleans Parish special grand jury indicted seven New Orleans police officers Thursday for their involvement in the fatal shooting of two people and the wounding of four on the Danziger Bridge six days after Hurricane Katrina hit last year, the Orleans district attorney said in a written statement.

The 7th District police officers -- Kenneth Bowen, Anthony Villavaso, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon, Michael Hunter, Robert Barrios and Ignatius Hills -- responded to reports on Sept. 4, 2005, that rescue workers had heard gunfire and that an officer had been wounded by gunfire while on the Interstate 10 bridge over the Industrial Canal.

The officers found members of the Bartholomew family at the base of the bridge and members of the Madison family near its top. "These officers shot and killed two people and critically wounded four people," the statement said.

CNN reported last May that autopsy results showed one of the two who was killed -- Ronald Madison, 40, a mentally ill man who had no criminal record -- was shot in the back by police. (Posted 6:13 p.m.)

Bush declares day of mourning for Ford

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush has declared Tuesday a National Day of Mourning for the memory of the 38th president, Gerald R. Ford, who died this week at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

"I call on the American people to assemble on that day in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President Ford," Bush wrote in a proclamation issued Thursday. "I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn observance."

Bush also ordered federal offices closed on that day, except for those necessary for national security. (Posted 5:42 p.m.)

U.S. military deaths in Iraq reach 100 for December

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine was killed Tuesday in Anbar province, the military announced Thursday.

The death brings the total of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in December to 100, the fifth highest monthly total since the war began.

Earlier Thursday, the military announced the deaths of another Marine and four soldiers.

The number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war now stands at 2,989. (Posted 4:48 p.m.)

James Brown honored in Harlem

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Thousands of fans gathered in Harlem Thursday to pay respects to legendary entertainer James Brown, whose body was borne in a white carriage drawn by two white horses on a mile-long procession down Lenox Avenue.

Fans followed the carriage singing "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," one of the singer's many hit songs.

The procession ended at the Apollo Theater, where Brown made his 1956 debut.

The open coffin will sit on stage at the Harlem theater until 8 p.m. A ceremony open only to family members is scheduled to be held Friday in Augusta, Ga. On Saturday, a public "homecoming celebration" featuring music will be held at 1 p.m. at the James Brown Arena in Augusta.

Brown, who was 73, died of congestive heart failure early Christmas morning in Atlanta. --From CNN's Caleb Silver and Catherine Clifford (Posted 4:45 p.m.)

Newspaper reports evidence that abducted contractors appear OK

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A newspaper report said Thursday that its reporter has seen a videotape that shows four U.S. security contractors and an Austrian co-worker who were abducted six weeks ago in Iraq in apparent good condition two weeks after they were kidnapped.

In the story, reporter Hannah Allam wrote that McClatchy Newspapers was shown the videotape in Baghdad on Tuesday night "on condition that the provider's name and other details be withheld for security reasons."

In the video, which lasts nearly one and a half minutes, each man makes a similar plea: that U.S. military forces leave Iraq. In places, the audio quality is poor and the sound garbled. (Posted 4:23 p.m.)

Snow-covered Denver about to be walloped again

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The Denver metropolitan area, still licking its wounds after last week's blizzard, could be blanketed with up to 40 inches of snow by Saturday, with heavier amounts elsewhere -- generally in the north central and northeast parts of the state.

At Denver International Airport, which was snowbound two days during last week's storm, airlines were letting passengers take earlier flights at no charge in most cases so they wouldn't be stranded by a new blizzard.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Friday, predicting from 10 to 20 inches of snow -- on top of amounts left over from the blizzard.

The rate of snowfall should decrease Friday, but could pick up again that night into Saturday, dumping an additional 10 to 20 inches, the NWS said. Forecasters expect blizzard conditions, with winds gusting to 40 mph. (Posted 4:14 p.m.)

Attorneys visit Saddam Hussein

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A pair of defense attorneys Thursday visited Saddam Hussein in jail, where, his chief defense attorney said, the former Iraqi dictator's morale is "normal."

An appellate court Tuesday upheld Hussein's death sentence, and the execution must take place before Jan. 27, according to chief Judge Aref Shaheen.

"Two lawyers from the defense team in Baghdad visited him today at the camp where he is being held and notified him that the sentence has been upheld," chief defense attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi told CNN in Amman, Jordan. "He was not surprised at this, but he believes in his fate and his only concern is the unity of the Iraqi people " (Posted 4:08 p.m.)

Part of northbound I-5 reopens in California as ice clears

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- California authorities reopened 41 miles of a northbound stretch of Interstate 5 late Thursday morning, after banning traffic for several hours because of icy, windy conditions, a state highway patrol spokesman said.

There was a condition for northbound motorists, however -- they must be escorted by patrol officers, said officer Terry Liu.

I-5 southbound between Castaic near Santa Clarita and Grapevine, about 35 miles north of Los Angeles, remains closed.

Icy conditions and winds, which gusted up to 70 mph Thursday morning, led authorities to close the highway, giving them time to clear it. (Posted 2:17 p.m.)

Bush notes 'good progress' on plan for Iraq

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush said Thursday that he and his national security team are "making good progress" toward devising a plan that will help the United States achieve its goal of an Iraq that can govern, sustain and defend itself.

But Bush said he has "more consultation to do" before settling on a plan. In addition to working with both parties in Congress, "we will continue to work with the Iraqi government," he said. "Key to success in Iraq is to have a government that is willing to deal with the elements that are trying to prevent this young democracy from succeeding."

Bush made his remarks to reporters at his ranch outside Crawford, Texas. He was flanked by members of his national security team -- Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace. (Posted 1:59 p.m.)

41 bodies found in Baghdad on Thursday

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Police in Baghdad found 41 bullet-riddled bodies across the Iraqi capital Thursday, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

Most were bound, blindfolded and showed signs of torture. (Posted 1:21 p.m.)

Iraqi Foreign Ministry working for release of two Iranians in MNF custody

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Thursday it is continuing to work for the release of two Iranians detained by Multi-National Forces on Dec. 21 and has obtained the release of others detained the day before.

The two Iranians still detained were among 10 men seized in a raid in Baghdad last week.

The U.S. military has said intelligence links "perhaps some of them to some illegal activities that have occurred."

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in its statement that Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was contacted about the incident by his Iranian counterpart and that Zebari met with the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad.

"The Foreign Ministry hope that such a case will not affect the growing bilateral relations between the two Islamic neighbors, and there be more cooperation between the two countries to avoid similar incidents in the future." (Posted 11:32 a.m.)

Existing home sales price drops, though sales are up

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The price of a typical home sold continued to slide in November, according to a trade group report Thursday, and sales ramped up slightly in a sign of continued weakness as the battered real estate sector seems to begin stabilizing.

The National Association of Realtors reported that the median price of a home sold in November was $218,000, down 3.1 percent from the $225,000 in November 2005. The median is the point at which half the homes sell for more and half sell for less. The median price in November was down from $221,000 in October.

While month-to-month prices are somewhat volatile, year-over-year declines in home prices are relatively rare and are seen as a significant sign of weakness in the real estate market. Until it occurred in August, there hadn't been such a drop in 11 years. (Posted 11:14 a.m.)

UNHCR: More than 140 missing after attempting to flee Somalia fighting

GENEVA (CNN) -- More than 140 Somalis and Ethiopians are missing in the water off the coast of Yemen, after boats carrying people attempting to flee the fighting in Somalia were fired on and capsized, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Some 515 people crammed into four boats late Wednesday and set sail from northwest Somalia for nearby Yemen, where they were met with gunfire and chaos that left at least 17 dead and 141 missing, according to the UNHCR.

After two of the boats offloaded their passengers, Yemeni security forces opened fire on the vessels, prompting the smugglers to return fire, Yemeni officials told the UNHCR.

The third and fourth boats, still waiting offshore, tried to turn around but both capsized. (Posted 10:31 p.m.)

U.S. soldier killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb that detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol killed a U.S. soldier Thursday, the military said.

The incident took place north of the Iraqi capital.

The military on Thursday also said that a Marine and three soldiers were killed in Iraq on Wednesday.

This brings the number of U.S. troops killed in December to 99, the fifth highest monthly total for U.S. military deaths since the war began. The number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war now stands at 2,988. (Posted 10:21 a.m.)

2 dead, 19 wounded in Mosul bombing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber targeting a Kurdish political group in northern Iraq killed two people and wounded 19, police in Mosul said.

The bomber was targeting an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, police said. (Posted 10:20 a.m.)

Edwards announces campaign for the presidency in 2008

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Standing in the still-ruined yard of a home devastated by Hurricane Katrina, former Sen. John Edwards announced Thursday he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, and hope to motivate Americans.

"I think that's why I'm in New Orleans, just to show what's possible when we, as Americans, instead of staying home and complaining about somebody else not doing what they're supposed to, we actually take responsibility, and we take action," the 53-year-old Edwards said. "And I don't mean we take action after the next election. I mean we take action now."

The former senator, who ran as Sen. John Kerry's vice presidential candidate in the 2004 election, noted that much of the recovery work in New Orleans so far has been done by volunteer and faith-based groups.

Edwards said that the biggest responsibility for the next U.S. president will be to reestablish "America's leadership role in the world, starting with Iraq." (Posted 10:19 a.m.)

Suspected insurgent killed in Najaf was al-Sadr aide

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A suspected insurgent cell leader killed by a coalition soldier in a raid near Najaf on Wednesday was an aide to militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an al-Sadr spokesman in Najaf told CNN.

Iraqi troops and coalition advisers conducted a raid to arrest Saheb al-Ameri in Abu Sukhayr, just southeast of Najaf in southern Iraq. Al-Ameri was killed during the incident.

A U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, had described al-Ameri as an "IED facilitator who conducted illegal activities."

"The purpose for going after him is because of the illegal activities that he was conducting, not because he was associated with any particular organization," Caldwell said Wednesday.

A friend of Al-Ameri who did not want to be identified told CNN that Al-Ameri often issued statements on behalf of al-Sadr. (Posted 10:11 a.m.)

13 suspected insurgents detained, 1 killed by U.S. military

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military said Thursday captured 13 suspected insurgents and killed one during a four-day operation in eastern Baghdad.

The operation took place in the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad -- a mixed Shiite and Sunni area. It involved soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Those detained are in military custody for questioning, the military said. Weapons, ammunition, ID cards, uniforms and cash were found during the operation. (Posted 8:52 a.m.)

Chaos in Mogadishu after Islamist troops withdraw

MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- Somalia's transitional government Thursday imposed a state of emergency in Mogadishu after Islamist fighters abandoned the Somali capital ahead of advancing government forces backed by Ethiopia.

Citizens have taken advantage of the power vacuum in Mogadishu, looting homes and businesses. Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi plans to leave the transitional government's base in Baidoa and travel to towns surrounding Mogadishu, said Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists.

Sharif Sheik Ahmed, Islamic Courts Union leader, told reporters in Somalia Thursday that his forces were retreating from Mogadishu, where they imposed strict Islamic rule after seizing control of the Somali capital in June.

The Islamist militia have vowed to regroup and retake control of the Somali capital.

Until recent days when Ethiopian troops joined the fight, the ICU held most of southern and central Somalia, while the transitional government remained in its base in Baidoa. Somalia has had no fully functional government since 1991. (Posted 8:40 a.m.)

Marine, 3 soldiers die in Iraq; December is 5th deadliest month for U.S. troops

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine and three U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The deaths bring the number of U.S. troops killed in December to 97, the fifth highest monthly total for U.S. military deaths since the war began.

A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 "was killed in action while conducting combat operations" in Anbar province, the military said. Three U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in two roadside bomb blasts in Baghdad.

The highest monthly death toll was 137 in November 2004, followed by 135 in April 2004, 107 in January 2005, and 106 in October of this year.

The number of American military deaths in the Iraq war now stands at 2,986. (Posted 8:28 a.m.)

Military: U.S. soldiers rescue 2 Iraqis 'held captive by insurgents'

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two Iraqis "held captive by insurgents" in an Anbar province city were rescued by U.S. soldiers on Wednesday, according to the U.S. military.

The military -- reporting the incident on Thursday in a news release -- said the rescue took place in the Euphrates River city of Hit. Those abducted were determined to be relatives of Iraqi police in nearby cities.

Soldiers "rescued the kidnapping victims after pursuing insurgents who were fleeing in three vehicles containing the captives. In their escape, the insurgents fled on foot, abandoning their vehicles and victims," the military said.

Weapons and munitions were found in the vehicles. (Posted 6:58 a.m.)

Israeli official: Israel OKs Egyptian weapons for Fatah forces in Gaza; Fatah denies arms sale

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel has approved the transfer of arms from Egypt to forces in Gaza that are loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, an Israeli security official said Thursday.

However, an official from Abbas' office denied that Palestinian security forces in Gaza received any weapons from Egypt.

Abbas has been locked in a power struggle with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and his ruling Hamas party since Hamas won Palestinian elections early this year, knocking Fatah out of power.

Abbas recently visited Egypt and Jordan, two Arab nations that have established diplomatic relations with Israel, and are often cited by the Bush administration as leaders in their region for accepting the Jewish state.

Last week, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had an ice-breaking first meeting. (Posted 6:36 a.m.)

Unruly passenger forces Aeroflot plane to make an emergency landing in Prague

PRAGUE (CNN) -- An Aeroflot A320 which originated in Moscow made an emergency landing at Prague's airport Thursday after a passenger stood up and threatened to detonate a bomb, according to the airline.

Crew members were able to restrain the man as the captain alerted the airport of an "on-board" emergency before making the landing, Aeroflot said. The flight carrying 120 passengers originated in Moscow and had been scheduled to land in Geneva.

According to Russia's Interfax news agency, an Aeroflot official in Prague said it is suspected that the unruly passenger was either drunk or high on drugs.

The incident happened at 12:42 p.m. Moscow time (4:42 a.m. ET), according to Aeroflot. (Posted 6:25 a.m.)

British soldier killed in southern Afghan explosion

LONDON (CNN) -- An explosion in southern Afghanistan Wednesday killed a British soldier, the British Ministry of Defense said Thursday.

The incident took place south of Garmsir, in Helmand province, during a reconnaissance mission, according to the ministry and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF said an explosion caused a vehicle to crash, killing the soldier and wounding three others, including one seriously.

ISAF -- which reported the same incident but did not list the soldier's nationality -- said it is investigating the cause.

The Ministry of Defense said, "at this stage it is too early to say what caused the explosion but there were no Taliban in the vicinity and there was no follow on contact." (Posted 6:25 a.m.)

Edwards' 2008 theme: 'Tomorrow Begins Today!'

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Former Sen. John Edwards used the Internet to build up excitement for his announcement that he will run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but he will use the patio of a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina as the stage for Thursday morning's campaign kick-off.

Edwards' official Web site -- JohnEdwards.com -- boasts the slogan "Tomorrow Begins Today."

An Edwards' email blast hit supporters' inboxes Wednesday evening including a link to a YouTube.com video that Edwards recorded Wednesday afternoon outside the east New Orleans home owned by 55-year-old Orelia Tyler. As Edwards explained the home was devastated by Katrina, young people worked behind him to prepare Tyler's patio for the announcement.

In his email, Edwards said "no place better demonstrates the two Americas I've talked about for a long time." (Posted 4:02 a.m.)

Bombs kill 20, hurt 67 in Baghdad area

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Five bombs, include two that exploded simultaneously, killed at least 20 Iraqis and wounded 67 in and around Baghdad Thursday morning, according to an interior ministry official.

The twin bombing along a street in a busy market in central Baghdad's Bab al-Sharqi area killed seven people and wounded 35, the official said.

A roadside bomb blast near Baghdad's Shaab Stadium killed at least 10 people and wounded 25, the official said.

Two people died and four were hurt by another roadside bomb in southern Baghdad, he said.

Another roadside bombing in the town of Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, killed one and wounded three, he said. --CNN's Sam Dagher in Baghdad contributed to this report. (Posted 4:47 a.m.)

Suspect in soldiers' checkpoint kidnapping, murders caught

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- An al Qaeda cell leader believed responsible for kidnapping, torturing and killing two U.S. soldiers last June was captured by Special Iraqi Army Forces in Yousifiya, south of Baghdad, on Tuesday, the U.S. military said.

A video found recently at a Yousifiya mosque showed the June, 2006 kidnapping of the soldiers who at a Yousifiya checkpoint and included the terror suspect talking about it, the military said.

U.S. military advisors accompanied the Iraqi soldiers in the air-assault operation that ended with the suspect's capture, the military said. (Posted 3:40 a.m.)


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