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Iraq: U.S. Soldiers Kill Suspected Arms Dealers At Tikrit Market

Tikrit, Iraq; 8 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. soldiers reportedly shot and killed at least two men and wounded at least two others today at a market in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. The exact circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. The Associated Press quoted Lieutenant Colonel Steve Russell, whose regiment was involved in the incident, as saying the dead Iraqis were arms dealers who were trying to sell AK-47 assault rifles at the market.

Russell said any unauthorized Iraqi carrying weapons was considered an enemy combatant by U.S. forces.

In other news, Malaysia said today that Iraq will not be invited to a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in October because the country is under U.S. occupation.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Iraq would not be invited to OIC meetings until the country's people were "ruled by their own regime and not under occupation."

Iraq regularly sent representatives to OIC meetings since 1976 when the country joined the 57-member organization. Syed Hamid said Iraq was not expelled from the organization but there is currently no representative from Iraq who is acceptable to the OIC.

OIC leaders are scheduled to meet in Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative capital, for a 16-18 October summit.