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Iraq: Shi'a Leader Wounded In Bomb Attack

Baghdad, 25 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A leading Iraqi Shi'a cleric was wounded in a bomb attack in the Iraqi holy city of Al-Najaf yesterday. Sheikh Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim received only scratches in the blast at his office yesterday but two of his bodyguards and a driver were killed. Nine people were wounded in the blast. Al-Hakim is the uncle of the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, meanwhile, announced it is reducing its staff in Baghdad due to security concerns after a truck-bomb attack on the U.N. headquarters in Iraq last week in which 24 people were killed.

In the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a tense calm was reported yesterday after at least 12 people were killed in two days of clashes between Kurds and Turkomans in the area.

The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, said foreign terrorists are becoming a growing problem in Iraq, but Bremer said he believes Hussein supporters were behind most of the attacks on U.S.-led troops and other targets. Bremer also said he did not agree with calls for the U.S. to add to its 140,000 troops already in Iraq. He said he favored a more multinational contingent to replace some U.S. forces.