BAGHDAD, May 23: Insurgents bombed a restaurant in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least four and wounding over 100, as thousands of US and Iraqi troops fanned out west of the capital in a bid to bring the bombers under control.

Meanwhile, an insurgent death squad gunned down Iraq’s new counter-insurgency chief as he drove to work on Monday in Baghdad and three suicide bombers attempted to blow their way into a US base in central Iraq.

Three Romanian journalists, released on Sunday by hostage-takers after two months of captivity, flew home on Monday, but their Iraqi-American guide, who was detained with them, remained in Iraq where US embassy officials said he was assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in their investigations.

An insurgent group, led by Al Qaeda frontman in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed to have executed an Iraqi-American businessman kidnapped four days ago in the capital. The group also claimed responsibility for the shooting of Major General Wael Rubaye, the new commander of a special operations room recently set up by the ministry for national security to coordinate the fight against insurgents.—APP

Updated May 24, 2005 12:00am

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