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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 12:23 GMT
Finnish businessmen shot in Iraq
US soldiers at a checkpoint in Iraq
Foreigners in Iraq have been the repeated target of attacks
Two Finnish businessmen have been shot dead in Baghdad.

They were part of a delegation visiting the Iraqi capital when they were hit on their way to the Electricity Ministry, a Finnish spokesman said.

The men are the first Finns to die in Iraq since the US-led invasion. One report said they were hit by sniper fire as they sat in their car.

Earlier, a US soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed when a roadside bomb exploded west of Baghdad.

Three other soldiers were hurt.

Insurgents blew up the home-made device as a US Army patrol was passing, US military officials said in a statement.

The attack on the 1st Armored Division patrol occurred on Sunday in the Abu Ghurayb district of the Iraqi capital.

An investigation is under way. The names of the victims are being withheld while next of kin are notified.

Trade ties

Details of the attack on the Finnish businessmen emerged from the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

"I can confirm that two Finnish businessmen were shot and died in Baghdad this morning, but at this moment we have no further details," Rolf Johansson, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, said.

The two men had been in Baghdad since Saturday. They were in a private trade delegation seeking to revive old business ties, Mr Johansson said.

The men's names were not immediately released.

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