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Confusion Reigns as Iraqi Forces Raid Houses

Amid reports of large-scale kidnappings in Madaen, Iraqi security forces raid houses believed to house Sunni militants holding Shiite hostages. The sectarian violence in the town south of Baghdad prompted Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to appeal for calm.

Versions of what has transpired in the region this weekend have ranged from a report that Sunni militants have seized as many as 100 Shiite Muslims to an announcement that no hostages have been found. Iraqi officials say members of al Qaeda have been active in the region.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.