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Death Toll from US Highway Bridge Collapse Increases


Emergency workers in the northern U.S. city of Minneapolis have pulled two bodies from the site of last week's deadly highway bridge collapse, raising the death toll to seven.

Authorities said the bodies, so far unidentified, were pulled from the wreckage Thursday.

Five other casualties of the bridge collapse have been identified.

Divers from the U.S. Navy and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been helping local divers search for more victims.

Authorities say the bridge collapse injured 100 others.

On Sunday, 1,000 people attended an interfaith service in Minneapolis to mourn the victims.

Traffic lanes on the 40-year-old steel-and-concrete bridge were crowded with evening rush-hour commuters last week when a central portion of the span fell into the Mississippi River 20 meters below.

President Bush has pledged the federal government's full support in rebuilding the bridge, a key transportation route through the state of Minnesota's "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Authorities in Minnesota had been warned as early as 1990 that the bridge was in need of major repair or even replacement. Federal inspectors gave the same forecast in 2005, but state engineers say the span was not slated for replacement until 2020.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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