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Sudan Closing Baghdad Embassy In Effort to Win Hostages Release


Sudan has announced it is closing its Baghdad embassy in an effort to win the release of five Sudanese hostages, including one of its top diplomats in Iraq.

A spokesman with Sudan's foreign ministry made the announcement Friday. Al-Qaida in Iraq said the Sudanese, who were kidnapped in Baghdad last week, will be killed Saturday unless Khartoum closes the diplomatic mission.

In Washington, a senior State Department spokesman said it was up to Sudan to do what it feels is necessary regarding the kidnapping. He said, however, as a matter of policy, Washington does not give in to the demands of kidnappers.

Meanwhile, a top U.S. military official in Iraq says the insurgency has weakened since this month's parliamentary elections. Major-General William Webster said the number of successful attacks is down to about 10 percent, from 25 to 30 percent a year ago.

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