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May 4, 2004 3:00 AM

Iraqi prisoner-abuse scandal widens; Pentagon investigating deaths

As investigations into U.S. military abuse of Iraqi captives gathered steam, Pentagon officials revealed Tuesday that they have investigated the deaths of 25 prisoners overseas and labeled two of them homicides. The widening scandal threatened to seriously hurt Americas image abroad, especially in the Muslim and Arab world. In an effort to curb the damage, the White House announced late Tuesday evening that President Bush will address the abuse allegations on Wednesday in 10-minute interviews to two Arab television networks. On Capitol Hill, angry lawmakers some reliable Republican allies of the Bush administration demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appear at a public hearing to explain how American jailers could have been allowed to sadistically abuse Iraqi prisoners.

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