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Three U.S. Soldiers, Nine Iraqis Dead In Two Attacks

Baghdad, 31 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Nine people were killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today when a car bomb exploded outside a police station and three U.S. soldiers were killed near Kirkuk by an improvised explosive device.

Iraqi police said the bomb in Mosul, about 360 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, also wounded more than 40 people. No U.S. casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, the head of the U.S. civil administration, L. Paul Bremer, said in a statement today that Iraqi security and civil defense forces now outnumbered coalition troops in Iraq.

There are currently 140,000 people in the coalition force in Iraq while there are 193,000 Iraqis serving in the civil-defense corps and protection services.

Bremer's statement came the same day that Adnan Pachachi announced Iraq would reform its Defense Ministry. Pachachi, on his last day as the rotating president of Iraq's interim Governing Council, said the ministry would take control of Iraq's armed forces after the country regains its sovereignty.

In other news, Iraq's central bank announced today it had granted the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC)., Britain's Standard Chartered, and the National Bank of Kuwait licenses to operate in Iraq, starting in mid-March.

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