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Egypt Names New Ambassador to Iraq

Egypt has named a new ambassador to Iraq, filling a four-year vacancy left after the last ambassador was kidnapped and killed by al-Qaida.

An Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Hossam Zaki, announced Tuesday that veteran diplomat Sharif Kamal Shahine has been appointed to the post. Shahine is currently the top Egyptian envoy to Zambia.

The previous Egyptian ambassador to Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif, was kidnapped in Baghdad in 2005 by gunmen who accused him of being an American spy.

In a separate development, the U.S. military in Iraq said an American soldier was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb near the city of Samawah, south of Baghdad.

In the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi police said a judge, Muhamad Najim, and two of his bodyguards were wounded in another roadside bombing.

Additional details, such as the severity of their injuries, were not immediately provided.

In other news, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said there have been significantly fewer foreign insurgents arriving in the country during the last eight to 10 months.

General Ray Odierno told reporters in Baghdad Monday that the flow of foreign fighters arriving from Syria has slowed to "just a trickle." He said Syrian authorities have recently taken stronger steps to stop insurgents from crossing the border.

Odierno said U.S. combat troops will be pulling out of Iraqi cities on schedule by the end of this month. He said the withdrawal from urban areas will include Mosul, despite earlier concerns that the northern city would not be secure enough by the pullout deadline.

The general said he is "much more comfortable" with the situation in Mosul now.

A security pact signed by Iraqi and U.S. officials calls for American combat forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by the end of June, and it calls for all U.S. forces to withdraw from the entire country by the end of 2011.

Odierno said "a very small number" of U.S. troops will remain in some urban areas after this month as trainers and advisers.

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