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Iraq: UN To Withdraw Some Staff

United Nations, 25 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has ordered some international UN staff to leave Iraq due to security concerns. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said the move is not an evacuation. He said 42 UN staff remain in Baghdad and 44 in northern Iraq, but those numbers will decrease over the next few days.

The withdrawal of UN staff comes after a member of Iraq's Governing Council, Aqila al-Hashimi, died today from gunshot wounds she suffered when she was attacked by unknown assailants while traveling by car in Baghdad five days ago. She was one of three women leaders in Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council.

The U.S. administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, says al-Hashimi's death is a loss for the cause of freedom and democracy.

Al-Hashimi's funeral is scheduled for tomorrow.

In Mosul today, the U.S. military reported that seven soldiers were wounded, three of them seriously, when their convoy was ambushed. And a Somali security guard was killed by a bomb explosion outside a Baghdad hotel.