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Rice Visits Iraq, Calls on Government to Move Quickly

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2005 – Terrorists continued to attack innocent Iraqis as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a surprise visit to the country today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari conduct a news conference after a May 15 meeting in Baghdad. Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq, and urged the country's government to move quickly in drafting the constitution that will lead to a permanent government in the country. Photo by Pfc. Ferdinand Thomas, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Attacks in Baghdad and Baqubah killed a number of people, according to news reports. Iraqi officials also found at least 34 men killed execution style in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood and in the town of Latifiyah, south of the capital.

Rice met with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi. It was her first visit to Iraq since becoming secretary of state.

Associated Press quoted Rice as saying, "The insurgency is very violent, but you defeat insurgencies not just militarily. You defeat them by having a political alternative that is strong. The Iraqis ... are now going to have to intensify their efforts to demonstrate that in fact the political process is the answer for the Iraqi people."

Rice urged the Iraqi government leaders to move quickly as they write a constitution to set up a permanent government for the nation. She said the Iraqi people are growing impatient with delays.

In Baghdad, Iraqi children led Task Force Baghdad soldiers to a weapons cache. The children led the troopers to three rocket-propelled grenades and 10 fuses. An explosives ordnance disposal team was called to the site and safely detonated the munitions.

"The majority of Iraqis do not support the insurgency," said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "Most Iraqis want to give the new Iraqi government a chance to work, and that's why they're turning in these terrorists and their weapons."

In combat operations conducted May 14, Iraqi soldiers captured seven terror suspects in eastern Baghdad. The Iraqi soldiers seized a computer, small arms, a protective mask and cell phone parts that could be used to remotely detonate bombs. All seven suspects were taken into custody for questioning.

In southern Baghdad, U.S. soldiers conducted a series of early morning raids Baghdad and captured three specifically targeted terror suspects. The suspects are believed to have planned and carried out a number of terrorist attacks in the area. The soldiers also found several AK-47 assault rifles, pistols and cellular phones during the raid. The three suspects were taken into custody for questioning.

Later in the day, Task Force Baghdad soldiers working in southeastern Baghdad found another weapons cache containing seven artillery shells and a rocket-propelled grenade. In Mosul, Stryker Brigade Combat Team soldiers detained 21 suspected terrorists. Soldiers detained 10 suspects in western Mosul, five in southeastern Mosul and six near the town of Sinjar.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases and news reports.)

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

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Multinational Force Iraq

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