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Red Cross Warns Of Worsening Crisis For Iraqis

(RFE/RL) April 11, 2007 -- The Red Cross says Iraqi civilians are facing an "ever-worsening crisis" as the humanitarian and security situation in the country deteriorates.

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today it is clear that the "situation is steadily worsening and affecting in one way or another, directly or indirectly, all Iraqis today."

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, the ICRC's director of operations, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said sectarian violence, frequent suicide attacks, and ongoing military operations all contribute to the humanitarian crisis.

"There may have been, here and there, improvements that people can refer to," he said. "The problem is simply that, at the same time, you have ongoing sectarian violence, you have ongoing attacks in forms of suicide attacks, you have the impact of the military operations that are underway on civilians, which have led to large numbers of displacements of populations."

The ICRC said protecting Iraq's civilian population should be a top priority. It urged all those involved in the conflict to urgently respect international humanitarian law and not target civilians.

(AFP, Reuters)

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