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2 Employees of Russian Company Killed in Baghdad Attack - 2004-05-26

The Russian Foreign Ministry says two employees of a Russian energy company working in Iraq were killed and five others wounded in an ambush Wednesday in the Baghdad area.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Yakovenko, said the workers' bus was attacked by unknown assailants. He said two Iraqis were also killed.

Following the attack, the Russian company, Interenergoservice, which has been helping rebuild Iraq's electric power facilities, said it plans to evacuate all its employees.

Earlier this month the company evacuated 109 workers, after one of its employees was killed in an attack south of Baghdad.

Two other Russian workers, who were detained by the attackers, were released about 10 days later, after mediation by Iraqi religious and political leaders.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces attacked Shi'ite militiamen holed up in a cemetery in the holy city of Najaf. News reports quoted witnesses as saying at least four people died and 29 others were wounded in the pre-dawn attack on fighters loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Tuesday, one of Shi'ite Islam's most sacred sites in Najaf was damaged in fierce fighting between U.S. forces and Shi'ite militiamen.

Both sides blamed each other for apparent mortar damage to the Imam Ali shrine.