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Iraq Transition

Egypt's envoy in Iraq killed

Diplomat was kidnapped on the weekend


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(CNN) -- Egypt on Thursday confirmed that its top envoy to Iraq has been killed.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its deep sadness at the martyrdom of its ambassador, Dr. Ihab al-Sherif, head of the diplomatic delegation to Iraq," the Egyptian government said.

The ministry had no further statement about the future of the Egyptian diplomatic delegation to Iraq.

But Egypt's Ambassador to the United Nations, Maged Abdelaziz, told reporters in New York that the killing would not "affect the determination of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government to help the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government through those difficult times."

Abdelaziz said he had asked that the U.N. Security Council address the issue "most urgently."

A statement from the office of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak said: "This terrorist act will not deter Egypt from its firm position in support of Iraq and its people," the Associated Press reported.

Egypt's announcement came after a Web posting attributed to al Qaeda in Iraq claimed the diplomat it kidnapped Saturday was dead.

"We, the al Qaeda in the land of the two rivers, announce that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been executed, praise be to God," the statement said.

It referred to the group's leader, Islamic militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as "our sheikh."

The statement was posted on a Web site commonly used by the group to make statements.

It called Egypt among the "first to wage this war against Islam" and criticized its policies and alliances, particularly those with the United States and Israel.

Video of a blindfolded man speaking and resembling the diplomat also surfaced on the Internet Thursday. The video bore the logo of al Qaeda in Iraq.

On Wednesday the group, citing Islamic law, said that Shariah courts of al Qaeda had met and decided that al-Sherif should be killed.

He arrived in Iraq last month, the first diplomat to represent an Arab country in Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Insurgents in Baghdad attacked other diplomats from Muslim countries Tuesday, wounding the Bahrain charge d'affaires and attacking a convoy with the Pakistani ambassador, who escaped injury.

Other developments

  • Two attacks in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Thursday killed six civilians and wounded 24, the U.S. military said.
  • The Islamic Republic News Agency has reported that Iraq's defense minister, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, and his delegation are visiting Iran, where cordial meetings are being held.
  • The U.S. military has been holding five men with U.S. ties -- two citizens and three possible U.S. citizens -- for alleged insurgent activities around Iraq, Pentagon officials said Wednesday. The officials said the men were captured separately and are not believed to be connected to one another.
  • Two suicide car bombs killed at least 12 people Wednesday in al-Mashru', a small town south of Baghdad, police said. At least 31 people were wounded, police said.
  • The Pentagon has identified three soldiers killed Tuesday in Iraq. Spc. Christopher Dickison, 26, of Seattle, Washington, died in Baquba when a bomb went off near his patrol. A bomb also killed Staff Sgt. Scottie Bright, 36, of Montgomery, Alabama, and Cpl. Lyle Cambridge, 23, of Shiprock, New Mexico, during their patrol in Baghdad.
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