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Marlins Safe in Kuwait as Suicide Blasts Kill At Least 37 in Baghdad


   Just got off the phone with Marlins communications vice president P.J. Loyello, who said a contingent of Marlins bound for Iraq landed in Kuwait this morning, not long after suicide bombers blasted three Baghdad hotels in neighboring Iraq.

   "They're safe," said Loyello, who has been in contact with the traveling party. "They're not in Iraq at the moment. They have landed (in Kuwait) and they're in good hands."

   The group of Marlins, on a goodwill mission to visit troops in Iraq, includes manager Fredi Gonzalez, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, outfielder and NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, catcher John Baker, and four Mermaids cheerleaders.

   The group left the U.S. on Sunday and plans to spend the coming week in Iraq. But they made their final stop in Kuwait, a few hours after bombs exploded in Iraq's capital.

   According to wire service reports, suicide bombers set off blasts that damaged three hotels popular with Western journalists and businessmen. At least 37 were killed and scores were injured. According to the Associated Press, the blasts rocked the city shortly before officials announced the execution of Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin, who is known as "Chemical Ali."

   Loyello said the group of Marlins won't be staying at commecial hotels during their trip.

  "When they are in Iraq, they'll be at military bases, not in hotels," Loyello said.  

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