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Troops Continue Search for Kidnapped Westerners in Iraq


U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to search for Western security contractors kidnapped in southern Iraq.

Iraqi officials said Saturday security forces were searching areas near the southern city of Basra where four Americans and an Austrian were seized from a convoy Thursday.

The fate of the hostages was not clear. Iraqi officials said Friday one hostage was found dead and two others were freed in a police operation. But Basra police told the Associated Press none of the hostages had been freed.

In other developments, the U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces killed 11 insurgents and detained another 24 suspected terrorists in raids in Tikrit, Baquba, Hit, Yusufiyah and Baghdad.

And, the military says Iraqi troops conducted a raid today in the sprawling Sadr City area of Baghdad to recover kidnap victims and disrupt kidnapping and terror cells operating in the capital.

The military says intelligence reports indicate an armed group targeted in the raid was holding hostages kidnapped during the week.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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