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Iraq: International Aid Agencies Cutting Staff After Attacks

Baghdad, 30 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Several international agencies are reducing foreign staff in Iraq amid a rise in attacks against aid groups and against forces in or aligned with the U.S.-led military coalition. The International Committee of the Red Cross announced yesterday that it will remove some staff but will continue to operate in Iraq. The United Nations and Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) also said they are bringing workers out of the country.

U.S. officials are considering whether to reduce the number of U.S. intelligence officers hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and reassign them to a search for the culprits behind a wave of deadly attacks.

U.S. congressional negotiators have rejected a plan that would have converted half of a $20 billion aid package for Iraq reconstruction into loans.

And the World Bank president said at least two-thirds of Iraq's estimated $120 billion foreign debt will need to be written off if the country is to be properly rebuilt.