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Insurgents attack Iraqi military targets

Hospital official: U.S. airstrikes in Baghdad kill 5

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents killed at least eight Iraqi national guard members in attacks in Mosul and near the cities of Baquba and Falluja, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

Near the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Falluja, west of Baghdad, a suicide car bombing killed four members of the Iraqi national guard at a checkpoint manned by U.S. and Iraqi forces, Iraqi police said.

Near Baquba, outside the town of Moqtadiye, a roadside bombing left an Iraqi national guard solider dead, U.S. military sources said.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car bombing killed three Iraqi national guard members and wounded seven other people, including three guard members and four civilians, according to Maj. Gen. Salim al Haj Issa, head of security of Nineveh Province.

Despite the attacks, the Iraqi national guard thwarted a hijacking attempt Monday on a vehicle carrying six Turkish nationals.

The 203rd Iraqi national guard battalion "was conducting a patrol along a main supply route when the soldiers saw anti-Iraqi forces" attempting to hijack the vehicle, the coalition press office said in a written statement.

The soldiers used small arms fire against the would-be hijackers, who then fled the area, the statement said.

The Turks in the vehicle are employees of a sub-contractor for Kellogg Brown & Root -- Halliburton's engineering and construction group -- who had hired a driver to take them to Turkey for some rest and recuperation, the statement said.

The driver of the vehicle is being questioned about the incident, the statement said.

Iraq's national guard plays an important role in U.S. strategy to have Iraq take over national security duties following the nation's elections, which are set for January.

Along with the national guard, Iraqi police also have been targeted by anti-American insurgents apparently working to destabilize the current Iraqi interim government.

As insurgents attacked national guard targets, U.S. military aircraft struck in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City on Monday.

The director of Imam Ali hospital said the attack killed five people and wounded 46 others, including nine children and 15 women.

Lt. Col. James Hutton of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division said the military is "suspect" of the reported number of casualties in Sadr City.

There has been "no precedent" in the cavalry's six-month tour in Baghdad for that type of collateral damage, he said.

The strikes targeted specific insurgent forces engaged in operations against U.S. and Iraqi forces, he said.

Hutton said an investigation is under way.

U.S. forces have been battling militia loyal to rebel Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Lynndie England referred to trial

The commander of the 18th Airborne Corps on Monday referred Pfc. Lynndie England to trial by general court-martial, the corps announced.

England faces 19 charges, including conspiracy and assault, in connection with the mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad.

England was arraigned Friday and deferred entering a plea, according to a statement.

A motions hearing has been set for December 1-3 with a trial date set for January 17 to January 28, 2005, a statement said.

U.S.-Syrian talks

A high-level U.S. military delegation has arrived in Damascus for rare face-to-face talks with Syrian government officials to discuss possible areas of cooperation in securing the Iraqi-Syrian border, Iraqi and American military officials said Monday.

Monday's talks follow a meeting last week in which Pentagon and State Department officials raised their concerns about former Iraqi regime officials operating in Damascus in support of insurgents in Iraq.

A senior Pentagon official told CNN the latest round of talks is an effort by U.S. officials to gauge whether the Syrian government is committed to eliminating former regime elements operating in their country and whether they can contribute to efforts to stabilize the security situation in Iraq.

"I think they are beginning to understand that it is in their interest to not see their border as a porous feature that can be used for terrorists to get into Iraq," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition." Powell met last week with Syria's foreign minister.

Other developments

  • Powell also said that the U.S. military will move into insurgent-heavy "no-go zones" in Iraq to clear the way for legitimate elections in January. The Bush administration is hoping free elections will help stabilize the country and build a sense of legitimacy for the new government. The "no-go zones" are largely avoided by U.S.-led forces. (Full story)
  • Two U.S. soldiers have been charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi civilian, the U.S. military announced Monday. "Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne Jr. and Staff Sgt. Cardenas Alban, both from Company C, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment from Fort Riley, Kansas, face the charge of murder under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice," the statement said. Details of the allegations were not released.
  • An Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped more than seven weeks ago in Iraq was released Monday, an official at the Iranian Embassy said. The diplomat is currently at the embassy, the official said. Fereydoun Jahani was kidnapped August 7 while traveling from Najaf to Karbala, where he was to open a consulate, Iranian officials said.
  • Insurgents with small-arms weapons attacked a U.S. Army patrol Monday near Balad, north of Baghdad, killing a soldier with the 1st Infantry Division, the coalition press center said. The patrol had been returning from the scene of an accident where another soldier with the 1st Infantry Division had died, the CPIC's written statement said.
  • Gen. Talib Abed Ghayib Najm, who was chosen to lead the Iraqi national guard in a province in the so-called Sunni triangle, has been arrested by U.S. forces on suspicion he has ties to insurgent fighters, a U.S. Army spokesman said.
  • The British Embassy in Baghdad released an Arabic language radio appeal to win the release of British hostage Kenneth Bigley, who was taken captive from his quarters along with two Americans on September 16. (Full story)
  • Jordan's King Abdullah II said in an interview published Monday he believed two Italian women kidnapped in Iraq three weeks ago were still alive and Jordan was trying to obtain their freedom. (Full story)
  • CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq, Bassem Muhy, Mohammed Adnan, Auday Sadik and Arwa Damon contributed to this report.

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