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Iraqi Raids Seek to Free Shiite Hostages

Iraqi security forces raid the town of Madaen, near Baghdad, seeking to free a large number of Shiite hostages. More than 15 hostages were reportedly taken by Sunni militants.

Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has issued an appeal for calm following reports that Sunni militants have seized as many as 100 Shiite Muslims in the town south of Baghdad, threatening to kill them if Shiites don't leave the area. Iraqi officials say members of al Qaeda have been active in the region.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.