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Deadline Nears for Kidnapped American Journalist


An insurgent group says it will kill a kidnapped American journalist Friday, and deadly bombings claim more lives in Baghdad during a violent week in Iraq.

Her family and co-workers are pleading for the life of a kidnapped American journalist. 28-year-old Jill Carroll was snatched off the street January 7th. Her translator was killed. Her captors want all Iraqi women prisoners released, and have threatened to execute Carroll Friday evening if their demands are not met.

David Cook, a colleague at the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, says they have kidnapped an innocent person.

"Here's somebody who's been telling the story of individual Iraqis, and doing it in an unbiased and fair manner, and the thought that someone would murder her for that just seems so wrong to us."

The White House says no release of Iraqi women appears imminent. But Iraqi officials said six of eight women detainees would be let go next week, though they deny that it's an exchange for Carroll's freedom.

Justice Undersecretary Bushu Ibrahim Ali said the women prisoners have been found innocent. "The matter has nothing to do with any hostages or kidnappers. We don't accept any dealings with terrorists at all."

Terrorist bombings, meantime, killed at least a dozen people and wounded many more Thursday in Baghdad.

Two simultaneous explosions-- at a coffee shop and a restaurant-- left the streets stained with the victims' blood.

Despite the continuing insurgent attacks, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says the U.S. intends to stay and fight, and he reiterated the White House position that Iraq remains a critical front in the global war on terror.

“The enemy that struck on 9-11 is weakened and fractured, yet still lethal, still determined to hit us again. Either we are serious about fighting this war on terror or we are not, and the enemies of America need to know we are serious."

Violence has spiked in Iraq as the country's election commission prepares to announce final results of last month's national elections. The minority Sunnis has leveled allegations of fraud. An international monitoring team found a number of violations, but has declined to call for a new vote.

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