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Iraq Bombing: 14 Italian Personnel 8 Iraqis Killed

14 Italian Military Personnel, 8 Iraqis Killed in Bomb Attack against Italian Base

An explosion rocked the headquarters of the Italian Carabinieri police in the Iraqi city of Nassirriya this afternoon killing 14 Italians and trapping others under the debris. 8 Iraqi civilians were also killed in the explosion and many others are still trapped under the debris according to our correspondent Hakam Amhaz.

Italy’s ANSA news agency said the Italian casualties were 11 members of the Carabinieri paramilitary force and three soldiers.

RAI public television also said another seven Italians had been injured in the attack. Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called the bombing of the Italian base a "terrorist act".

He said Italy was united in its support of the paramilitary Carabinieri's role in Iraq and that the country would continue to work with its allies and the United Nations to fight against so-called terrorism.

The Italian police said in a statement that the explosion occurred in front of the base, near the Iraqi chamber of commerce. Our correspondent in Iraq also informed us that the explosion was the result of an attack carried out by a bomber with a vehicle full of explosives.

In other developments, two US soldiers were killed and four wounded in separate bombing attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital late Tuesday, a military spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Iraqi fighters fired mortars after sundown on Tuesday in the centre of the Iraqi capital, and the US--occupation troops said two rounds exploded within the US- controlled headquarters area known as the "green zone".

Also five Iraqi civilians were killed and four others were wounded when US occupation troops opened fire on a truck at the entrance of the flash point town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

Frustrated with the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council, US President George W. Bush's national security advisers questioned the top American Governor of Iraq Paul Bremer on Tuesday about how to break a political stoppage in Baghdad and speed planning for the nation's political future.

Bremer was summoned unexpectedly from Baghdad to a White House meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and other key officials.

There have been concerns about the performance of the governing council, a senior administration official said, particularly the lack of progress toward a December 15 deadline to set a timetable for writing a new constitution.

Bremer wants to delay transferring sovereignty until the Iraqis draft a constitution and hold national elections, but the Iraqis are pressing for quick sovereignty, although they have yet to agree on how to choose delegates to draw up a constitution.

Some U.S. officials believe that key members of the 25-member Iraqi council are stalling in hopes of winning concessions from American leaders under political pressure to turn over power to the Iraqis.

Administration officials expressed disappointment in the council's work but said Bush was not about to disband it. The US administration has become more concerned as polls have shown American public support for the war effort is falling.

The Defence Department has already announced plans for a significant reduction in the number of US troops in Iraq by next May.

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