Militants in Iraq have intensified their campaign of intimidation intended to keep voters away from the polls next Sunday.
The insurgent group Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it executed 15 Iraqi National Guardsmen. The claim, posted on the internet, could not be immediately verified, but last week 15 guardsmen were kidnapped west of Baghdad.
In a separate incident in Hilla, south of Baghdad, officials say at least nine Iraqi soldiers and a civilian were hurt when a car bomb exploded near a military base. And Brazilian officials are investigating militants' claims that they are holding a Brazilian man abducted in an ambush earlier this week. However, China's embassy in Baghdad say eight Chinese workers kidnapped by insurgents earlier this month have been freed.
Meanwhile, Iraq's defense minister says the government will arrest Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi on charges of slandering the ministry.