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About 40 hostages from 12 countries held in Iraq:

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BAGHDAD : About 40 hostages from 12 countries are being held in Iraq, a spokesman for the US-led coalition said.

Senior spokesman Dan Senor reiterated that the coalition would not negotiate with the abductors who are pressing for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.

Asked about the magnitude of the wave of kidnappings, Senor said: "The number we think is approximately 40 hostages from 12 countries," adding this was the figure for those "currently held."

Senor said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was working with coalition troops and Iraqi security force to search for the hostages and their abductors.

"We are making it clear that there will be no negotiations with hostage-takers and ... that it is everyone's interest that these hostages be released as expeditiously as possible."

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