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Blast at Iraqi Mosque Kills 5 - 2004-01-09


Iraqi officials say an explosion outside a mosque in Baquba has killed at least five people and wounded dozens of others.

The blast occurred as Friday prayers were ending. Baquba, 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, has been a hotbed of resistance to the U.S. - led coalition in Iraq.

Earlier, in the capital, security officials said two rocket-propelled grenades hit a hotel (Burj al-Hayat) that houses foreign contractors and businessmen hired by the coalition. No one was injured. Officials say three attackers drove up to the hotel, fired rockets and then fled.

In Tikrit, captured Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's hometown, U.S. troops made a number of arrests during an overnight raid by 300 soldiers searching for militants involved in attacks on coalition forces.

Military officials say soldiers arrested 13 of 18 suspects they were seeking. They also found fake Iraqi police identity cards, bomb-making equipment and some weapons.

In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, U.S. officials are investigating the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter that went down Thursday, killing all nine soldiers on board. The military has not said what caused the crash; witnesses said the helicopter was shot down.

Information for this report is provided by APP and Reuters.

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