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US Closes Off 2 Highways into Baghdad - 2004-04-18


The U.S. military in Iraq has closed off long stretches of two major highways running north and south from Baghdad following insurgent attacks that have affected the flow of supplies to the capital.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt says the roads are in need of repair, and must be protected.

A U.S. military statement issued Saturday said the roads are badly damaged and too dangerous for civilian travel. The military also warned that anyone driving on the sections of highway closed for safety and security reasons could be subject to attack.

Insurgents have recently stepped up attacks against coalition convoys in the area.

In another development, the U.S. military said today (Sunday) that an American soldier has died from wounds suffered in a recent roadside bombing attack on his convoy in eastern Baghdad. And on Saturday, a coalition soldier died from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his patrol near Najaf the previous day. Two gunmen also were killed.

Meanwhile, Iraqi guerrillas released two more Japanese hostages. Insurgents are still holding some foreigners captive, including an American soldier.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AFP.

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