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Iraqi Oil Minister Survives Apparent Assassination Attempt


A roadside bomb blast near the motorcade of Iraq's oil minister has killed at least two of his escorts and wounded two others.

Iraqi officials say Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum was not hurt in the bombing, which occurred in a north Baghdad district as he set out for the oil refining city of Beiji.

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials deny that al-Qaida in Iraq has abducted two Marines in western Iraq, where U.S. troops are in the third day of an offensive to drive out insurgents.

A website message from the purported kidnappers Sunday said the Marines would be killed unless all female Sunni Muslim prisoners in U.S. and Iraqi custody were freed within 24 hours.

U.S. officials say at least 20 insurgents have been killed in the current operation.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.