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U.S. soldier dies in blast; al-Qaida posts video of beheading

BAGHDAD, Iraq—A bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Baghdad, and al-Qaida posted a video on its Web site showing the beheading of an Iraqi National Guard captain on Tuesday.

The incidents came during a relative lull in insurgent attacks and the day before the nation's assembly is expected to name a president.

The soldier died when an improvised explosive device detonated around 9 a.m. local time in Dora, a Baghdad neighborhood known as a base for insurgents firing mortars into the Green Zone, said Sgt. 1st Class David Abrams, a spokesman for the military. Four U.S. soldiers were wounded.

The video, posted on an al-Qaida Web site, showed a man in an Iraqi National Guard uniform being beheaded. It couldn't be independently verified. The man identified himself as Jassim Mohamed Hussein Mahdi, a member of a brigade that helped prepare for broadcast a series of confessions by accused terrorists on state-owned Iraqiya TV.

Text accompanying the Web site images read: "This is for one of the Sunni sheiks shown on Iraqiya TV saying he's gay."

During an interrogation by Iraqi officials that aired in early February, a cleric from Mosul, Talal Ra'ad Sleiman Yasin, said he had called for the killing of U.S. and Iraqi forces and that he had been dismissed from his mosque because he'd practiced homosexuality.

Also Tuesday, U.S. military officials announced the capture of nine terrorist suspects in early morning raids in central Baghdad. Soldiers confiscated terrorist training materials, weapons and bomb-making materials, Abrams said.

U.S. military officials said in a statement Monday that a riot erupted Friday at the largest U.S. detention facility, Camp Bucca in Basra.

Detainees chanted, hurled rocks at guards and set their tents on fire in an hour-long clash with guards. Twelve detainees and four guards suffered minor injuries, said Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for the detainee system in Iraq. He said the detainees objected to several inmates being moved to another compound.

"All I know is that they were being unruly and they were told to calm down and they did not," Rudisill said.

A spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr, the militant Shiite Muslim cleric who led an uprising against U.S. forces in Najaf a year ago, said Tuesday that the prison uprising stemmed from a peaceful demonstration by the cleric's followers.

"Prisoners were upset because they didn't receive good health care inside the prison," said Sheik Ghaith al Tamimi. "The guards didn't treat them well. They used to abuse men and women."

He said guards broke up a protest against poor conditions in the prison by beating back the detainees. Sixteen prisoners and three guards were killed in the clash, al Tamimi said, which involved Humvees, armored vehicles and helicopters.

Rudisill said there was no substance to those allegations and defended the prison system's care of detainees.

"We provide the detainees three meals a day," he said. "We provide as much water as they want. We have provided medical care."

Also Tuesday, in Mosul, soldiers from the Stryker Brigade Combat Team killed a suspected insurgent who was waving an AK-47 in the middle of a crowd and shot a reporter holding a video camera standing nearby, U.S. military officials said.

The reporter was taken to a military hospital and treated for minor injuries.


(Knight Ridder special correspondent Alaa al Baldawy and a correspondent who couldn't be named for security reasons contributed to this report.)


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.