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Bush Expresses Condolences to Slain Italian Soldiers' Families - 2003-11-12

President Bush says America sends its condolences to the families of the 17 Italians killed when a truck bomb exploded at their base in southern Iraq. They were the first casualties for Italian forces serving in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

President Bush says America mourns the loss.

"Italy lost some proud sons in the service of freedom and peace," he said.

After the attack, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Italy would not be intimidated, and will continue to help rebuild Iraq.

President Bush thanked him for his words of support at a difficult time.

"I appreciate the steadfast leadership of Prime Minister Berlusconi who refuses to yield in the face of terror," said Mr. Bush.

About 2,300 Italians are deployed in Iraq. They are part of a British-led multi-national force serving the southern part of the country.