Sun, Mar 12, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Peace activist murdered in Baghdad

AP , BAGHDAD

The body of the only American among four Christian peace activists kidnapped late last year was found near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshots to his head and chest, Iraqi police said yesterday.

Tom Fox, 54, from Clear Brook, Virginia, was the fifth American hostage killed in Iraq. There was no immediate word on his fellow hostages, a Briton and two Canadians.

The US command in Baghdad confirmed that Fox's body was picked up by US forces on Thursday evening.

An Iraqi police patrol was also at the scene, said Falah al-Mohammedawi, an official with the Interior Ministry, which oversees police. He said Fox was found with his hands tied and gunshot wounds to his head and chest. There were cuts on Fox's body and bruises on his head, he said.

The FBI verified that the body was that of Fox, and his family was notified, US State Department spokesman Noel Clay said in Washington.

Word of Fox's killing came as four people -- including an Iraqi journalist and a human rights activist -- died in drive-by shootings yesterday, police said.

Amjad Hamid, who was in charge of educational programs at Iraqiya state television, was killed with his driver in Khadra, a mostly Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad, the channel said.

Waad Jabar, who worked for an Iraqi rights group, was gunned down with his bodyguard in Hawija, 240km north of Baghdad, police said.

US and Iraqi forces, meanwhile, conducted a series of raids in Baghdad and north of the capital, arresting 20 suspected insurgents early yesterday.

Four suspects were detained at a west Baghdad mosque identified by the US military as a possible al-Qaeda in Iraq safe haven. Four others were captured at other sites in the same area, the US military said in a statement. The eight were suspected of kidnapping, manufacturing car bombs and financing and supporting terrorists, the statement said.

A dozen more suspects were captured in Tikrit, former president Saddam Hussein's ancestral hometown 130km north of Baghdad, the military said. They were believed to be part of an insurgent cell responsible for the killing of dozens of Narhwan-area residents after the Feb. 22 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra that unleashed a torrent of sectarian killing.

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