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US, Iraqi Forces to Protect Foreign Diplomats in Baghdad


General William Webster

The senior U.S. general responsible for coalition operations in Baghdad says he is working with Iraqi officials on a new security plan for foreign diplomats, following the assassination of Egypt's top diplomat in the city.

General William Webster says his forces are working with the Iraqi government to investigate the kidnapping and killing of Egyptian diplomat Ihab al-Sherif. But the general says so far there are no leads in the case, and the envoy's body has not been found.

Insurgents claimed to have killed Mr. Sherif in an Internet posting on Thursday.

Meanwhile, General Webster says he has met with Iraqi officials to discuss ways to improve security for foreign diplomats in Baghdad. He says coalition forces will support the effort, but Iraqi forces will take the lead.

"This new Iraqi government has offered their own police force and special police commandos to help guard these diplomats," said General Webster. "And it's my understanding that that will begin very soon."

The coalition commander in Baghdad says there are about 11,000 Iraqi police and special police commandos operating in Baghdad. He says there are also several thousand Iraqi army troops operating in the city, with thousands more in training and expected to be ready for combat by the end of the summer.

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