Four U.S. Marines have been killed in an attack west of the Iraqi capital, as
a deadline imposed by Muslim militants threatening to execute a South Korean
Suspected insurgents killed four U.S. Marines in the Sunni Muslim stronghold
of Ramadi. Speaking with reporters, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said commanders
were alerted when the soldiers failed to report in to their superiors from
"We sent a quick reaction force to their location," he said. "I can confirm
that we do, in fact, have four servicemen dead."
News of the deaths came as a deadline was set to expire late Monday for a South
Korean hostage. Muslim militants threatened to kill the businessman unless South
Korea reverses a decision to dispatch 3,000 troops to northern Iraq, a demand
South Korea has rejected.
A videotape that surfaced Sunday shows the businessman Kim Sun-il pleading
for his life. For more than a year, he has worked for a Korean firm that is
helping supply the U.S. military in Iraq. Coalition officials told reporters
that efforts to locate and rescue the hostage were continuing.
Meanwhile, a military judge has ruled that top U.S. commanders in Iraq may
face questioning from attorneys representing servicemen accused of abuse at
the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. Among those who may be questioned are
Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the head of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, and
General John Abizaid, the commander for the region.
The judge also ruled that Abu Ghraib be preserved, as least for now, as a
crime scene, and not destroyed as the Bush administration has suggested.
Lawyers for two defendants say, in addition to U.S. commanders in Iraq, they
want to question Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Attorney Paul Bergin said "the
individuals who are responsible for what happened in this particular case,
that is high level individuals within the United States government, hopefully
will be brought to justice, but the scapegoats in this case will be set free."
The Bush administration maintains that at no time did it authorize interrogation
tactics of prisoners that violated U.S. law or international conventions.
Elsewhere, the flow of oil has been restored to Iraqi sea terminals after
the repair of a pipeline severed in last week's blast by saboteurs.