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US Hostage Found Dead in Iraq


U.S. and Iraqi officials say a body found in Iraq has been identified as missing American hostage Tom Fox.

A U.S. State Department spokesman announced the death of the Christian peace activist late Friday.

Iraqi officials say Fox was found with his hands tied and with gunshot wounds. They say there were signs he was beaten before his death.

Fox was one of four Western aid workers from the North American-based group Christian Peacemaker Teams abducted in Iraq last November. Two Canadians and a Briton are still being held.

In another development, the U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces detained eight suspected insurgents today. A statement says four men were captured at a Sunni mosque in the violence-plagued Khadhra neighborhood of Baghdad that had been identified as a possible al-Qaida in Iraq safe haven. The other four were detained from other sites raided during the operation.

On the political front, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has summoned the country's new parliament to meet on March 19th, saying the impasse in forming a new government could lead to an increase in sectarian violence.

The first meeting of the newly-elected parliament has been delayed because the three main political parties, deeply divided along sectarian and ethnic lines, have failed to agree on a power-sharing formula.

In Washington, President Bush expressed concern Friday about the sectarian violence following the February 22nd bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra. He said, however, the Iraqi people have taken a "step back" from the unrest.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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