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American journalist kidnapped in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Iraqi police officials said Saturday unidentified gunmen have kidnapped an American female journalist after killing her Iraqi translator in Baghdad.

They said the driver of the bus in which the journalist and translator were riding managed to escape the incident when he fled and sought the help of a police patrol that happened to be in the same area at the time.

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The woman and the translator were attacked by gunmen in the Arab Sunni district of al-Adel in western Baghdad as they were heading to meet the head of the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, Adnan al-Dulaimi.

The name of the journalist was not released.

Around 200 foreigners, including civilians and relief aid workers, have been kidnapped by different armed groups in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003.

The kidnappers have mainly demanded troop withdrawal of foreign governments from Iraq.

Most of the hostages were released, but around 50 have been executed.

Four Western peace activists and an engineer remain in captivity.

Meanwhile, interior ministry sources said a suicide bomber blew himself up earlier in the day targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint in Baghdad, injuring 11 people, including five policemen.

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In Fallujah, 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of the capital, residents said that violent armed clashes broke out Saturday between insurgents and joint U.S.-Iraqi forces.

Eyewitnesses in the city told United Press International they saw American military helicopters hovering above the area and heard a series of explosions.

There were no further details available on the reported clashes.

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