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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Abducted Iraq governor found dead
Iraqi and US troops secures the area of a car bomb near Baquba
Iraqi and US forces face an uphill struggle tackling insurgents
The kidnapped governor of Iraq's Anbar province has been found dead along with his suspected captors after a clash with US forces.

Raja Nawaf's body was found tied to a gas canister in a house in Rawa, near the Syria border, the government said.

A US military spokesman said one of its helicopters had flown the body to the city of Qaim on Monday where his family had identified him.

It has not been disclosed how the governor was killed.

He was kidnapped on 10 May. A group claiming to have seized him said it would hold him captive until US troops pulled back from Qaim.

The US military says its troops were patrolling in the town of Rawa, when a fight broke out around a farmhouse.

The troops reportedly laid siege to the house after being fired upon with rocket-propelled grenades.

The US says Nawaf may have been killed during the fighting by the force of a blast rather than a bullet. It has sent condolences to the governor's family.

Air crash casualties

Earlier on Tuesday the Italian army said that an Italian military helicopter crashed, killing all four people on board.

The incident happened close to the southern city of Nasiriya, where the majority of the 3,000 Italian troops in the country are based.

Officials have not given a reason for the crash, which took place overnight.

On Monday, four Americans and an Iraqi were killed when an Iraqi air force plane crashed close to the border with neighbouring Iran.

Map
The Iraqi aircraft came down near the village of Jalula, located about 130km (80 miles) northeast of Baghdad, US military spokesman Lt Col Fred Wellman told AP news agency.

The four Americans were members of the US Air Force while the Iraqi was a pilot.

In other developments, there has been another suicide bomb attack in Baquba, north of Baghdad.

Two Iraqi soldiers died and at least six others were injured when a bomb hidden in a truck exploded close to a military checkpoint in the town.

A policeman said the truck had pulled up to the checkpoint seconds before the explosion.

A Reuters cameraman said there were bodies are lying in the street.

Baquba has been the scene of several attacks against Iraqi security forces.





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