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Insurgents Kill 21 Across Iraq


Authorities in Iraq say insurgents killed at least 17 Iraqis and four U.S. soldiers in attacks across the country Thursday.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed seven people traveling in a mini-bus, while a bomb near a police patrol killed at least seven people, including at least three officers.

To the north, gunmen killed a teacher and student in Kirkuk. And in Mosul, the U.S. military says troops killed three insurgents.

Separately, the U.S. military says a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad killed four American soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter.

The Arabic television network al-Jazeera has aired a videotape of a United Arab Emirates diplomat who was kidnapped earlier this week in Baghdad. The kidnappers are demanding that the UAE close its embassy in Iraq.

In other news, 15 Taekwondo athletes training for possible spots on the Iraqi Olympic team were abducted west of Baghdad. Officials say their captors are demanding $100,000 for their release.

On the political front, Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki is expected to seek parliamentary approval for his cabinet on Saturday.

The critical posts of interior and defense minister are yet to be finalized. But officials say the cabinet may be presented with or without a decision on those two positions.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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