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Iraqi Authorities: Al-Qaida Militants Kill Members of Police Patrol


Iraqi authorities say suspected al-Qaida militants have killed at least 10 members of a Sunni police patrol after the militants drove up in stolen Iraqi army vehicles.

Officials say the al-Qaida fighters attacked the police Thursday in Hawr Rijab, a rural area south of Baghdad, after killing three soldiers and taking their vehicles.

The police were members of "Awakening Council," a Sunni group fighting al-Qaida militants in Iraq.

In separate clashes, Iraqi security forces say they killed 19 al-Qaida fighters north of Baghdad in Baquba.

In other news, Iraqi police say a number of mortar bombs have landed inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and many Iraqi government offices are located

Witnesses say they heard more than five explosions, and thick smoke was seen rising from the compound. There was no official word on casualties.

Meanwhile, The New York Times quotes U.S. military officials who say Saudi Arabia and Libya are the source for more than half of the foreign fighters who arrived in Iraq in the past year.

The newspaper says the data came largely from documents and computers discovered in a U.S. raid near the Syrian border in September. Saudis accounted for 305 fighters, or 41 percent, of the foreigners listed, and Libyans accounted for 137 fighters, or 18 percent.

Before the report, U.S. officials had offered only rough estimates of the nationalities of foreign fighters inside Iraq.

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

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