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26 April 2004 -- Poland says the United States will be taking over two out of five provinces currently being administered by Poland in Iraq after the departure of Spanish forces.

Polish General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, commander of the multinational force in south-central Iraq, today confirmed the transfer of military responsibilities.

Poland's TVN24 news channel reported that the size of the Polish-led contingent will be reduced from some 10,000 troops down to 6,500 troops, after Spanish and Latin American forces withdraw from the U.S.-led coalition in the coming weeks.

Earlier today in Baghdad, an explosion rocked a building where U.S. forces were conducting a raid, wounding at least one soldier and several Iraqis.

West of the capital, U.S. troops outside of Al-Fallujah and Sunni Muslim militants today reportedly exchanged heavy fire. The fighting comes as U.S. Marines expressed disappointment with their demand that insurgents hand in heavy weapons.

(AFP/Reuters/dpa/AP)
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