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Iraq: Shi'ites Stage Demonstration In Baghdad

Baghdad, 19 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Several thousand Shi'ite Muslims marched through the Iraqi capital Baghdad today protesting against what they said was U.S. harassment of Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr yesterday denounced Iraq's new U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council, saying it does not represent the country.

The Governing Council has failed in a six-day effort to choose a president, compromising today instead on a three-man rotating leadership.

Also today, attackers firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades killed another U.S. soldier in Baghdad. A U.S. spokesman said the soldier was attacked in the early hours as he guarded a bank in western Baghdad.

He was the second soldier killed in Iraq in 24 hours, bringing the number of U.S. troops to die from hostile fire to 149 -- more than the 147 killed in the 1991 Gulf War.

Another four soldiers suffered wounds early today when a homemade bomb detonated near their patrol.