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Iraq Insurgents Kill 5 US Service Members


Insurgents in Iraq have killed five U.S. service members.

U.S. officials say four Marines died in two separate attacks on Tuesday in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. The fifth American victim died in a roadside bomb south of Baghdad on Wednesday.

In another development, the chief lawyer for Saddam Hussein, Khalil al-Dulaimi, says Saddam and several other defendants have begun a hunger strike to protest the lack of security for their defense lawyers.

On Wednesday, gunmen kidnapped a top member of Saddam's legal team, Khamis al-Obaidi, and killed him.

A U.S. State Department spokesman condemned the murder, but he said the slain lawyer had turned down American offers of protection.

Elsewhere, the number of factory workers still being held by gunmen remains unclear. The gunmen seized the factory workers on Wednesday in Taji, north of Baghdad. Media reports say the gunmen have released Sunni hostages, but killed two hostages trying to escape. On Wednesday, initial reports said about 85 workers were kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Russia has been calling on Iraqi insurgents to spare the lives of four Russian embassy workers kidnapped in Baghdad earlier this month.

The insurgent Mujahideen Shura Council said on Wednesday it would kill the hostages because Russia did not withdraw from Chechnya.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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