- The Washington Times - Friday, December 17, 2004

BAGHDAD — Terrorists killed at least three foreigners yesterday in Mosul, a northern city that became an insurgent stronghold after Fallujah fell to U.S. and Iraqi forces. Militants also set ablaze a pipeline near the capital — a rare attack on oil infrastructure in a populated area.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the name of an American contractor taken hostage six weeks ago in Baghdad, identifying him as Roy Hallums, a 56-year-old worker for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army.

His wife, Susan Hallums of Corona, Calif., said in a telephone interview yesterday that she has not heard from the kidnappers.

“I want to plead for his life and send out prayers and hope that he will be released,” said Mrs. Hallums, who is separated from her husband, with whom she has two daughters.

Mr. Hallums was seized in an attack Nov. 1 after a gunbattle in which an Iraqi guard and one attacker were killed.

Mr. Hallums, Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy, a Nepalese worker and three Iraqis employed by the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company were taken away after the gunfight. The Iraqi hostages and the Nepalese worker were freed later.

“As far as we know, Hallums is still being held captive along with the Filipino,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Bob Callahan. “We are operating on the assumption that Hallums is still alive.”

Twelve Americans have been kidnapped or are missing in Iraq. At least three Americans have been killed — all beheaded in abductions claimed by an al Qaeda-linked group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi.

In Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city with more than 1 million inhabitants, attackers ambushed a car and killed all four of its occupants yesterday. The bodies of the four men, including one whose head was almost severed, were seen lying on the road alongside their burning car.

Police Capt. Zeid Waseem said police received reports that three of the dead were foreigners but their nationalities were not immediately known.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said a group of Turkish Embassy guards, on their way from Turkey to Baghdad, came under a terrorist attack in Mosul and that several were killed or wounded. It could not immediately be confirmed if the embassy guards were the people ambushed in the car.

Insurgent attacks in Mosul have increased dramatically since the U.S.-led operation last month to retake Fallujah from the guerrillas, and efforts by the multinational forces and the interim government’s troops to pacify the city have met with little success.

South of Baghdad, an explosion and fire on an oil pipeline near the capital’s Dora refinery sent thick black smoke into the sky.

U.S. troops sealed off the area. Insurgents regularly attack the country’s oil infrastructure, but they usually pick remote desert locations.

Also yesterday, a government official said Saddam Hussein’s defense minister, who surrendered to U.S. forces last year, will join another notorious general — known as Chemical Ali — in the dock when judicial proceedings against top figures of the Ba’athist regime open next week.

Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad gave himself up in September 2003 at a coalition military base in Mosul. He was not considered to be a war-crimes suspect and many had expected that he would be freed after being questioned.

In contrast, Ali Hassan al-Majid, who earned the nickname Chemical Ali after using poison gas to kill thousands of Kurds in the 1980s, is considered a leading defendant.

“Chemical Ali and Sultan will be the first to face the hearings,” said the official, who is familiar with the proceedings.

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