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Iraqis Say Foreign Security Guards Fired Randomly at Women

The guards worked for Australian-run Unity Resources Group, which has headquarters in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Unity said on its Web site that it deeply regretted the incident, in which it said a car had failed to stop despite repeated warnings, Reuters reported.

Unity provides security services to RTI International, a North Carolina-based group that promotes governance projects in Iraq for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Michael Priddin, chief operating officer for Unity, said the firm was working with Iraqi authorities “to find out the results of the shooting incident,” according to the Associated Press.

Baghdad security spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi said the women were at an intersection in the Karrada district when four four-wheel drive vehicles drove up in a convoy.

“It opened fire randomly, targeting an Oldsmobile vehicle being driven by a woman,” Moussawi told Reuters.

A funeral service for the two Christian women, Marou Awanis and Geneva Jalal, was held at the Armenian Orthodox Virgin Mary Church in Baghdad.

In other violence in Tikrit in northern Iraq, six people were killed in a car bomb attack on a convoy carrying Salahuddin province security chief Col. Jassim Hussein Mohammed, who was not hurt in the attack. One of his bodyguards was among those killed, and two others were wounded.

The attack followed two separate suicide car bombs that killed 22 people in Baiji, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has released about 1,400 Iraqi detainees to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, after making the detainees pledge not to attack U.S. or Iraqi forces, U.S. Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone told reporters in Baghdad.

“We will continue to release every detainee who is no longer an imperative security risk,” he said.

Most of the 25,000 people held by U.S. forces are Sunni Arabs accused of being involved in the insurgency against the Shiite-led government and American forces.

After the detainees are interviewed by a U.S. military panel and deemed they pose no risk to Iraq society, they make a pledge of good behavior before an Iraqi judge and are released.

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