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Iraq: Two Injured As Group Takes Over Berlin Embassy

Berlin, 20 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- An Iraqi dissident group says it has occupied the Iraqi Embassy in Germany's capital Berlin today to demonstrate its opposition to the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The takeover has been claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Democratic Iraqi Opposition of Germany.

A German police spokesman, Joerg Nittman, said two embassy staff members were injured as the opposition group members forced their way into the building. Nittman said several hostages were taken, including the Iraqi Embassy's highest-ranking official. German police have sealed off the embassy and surrounding streets.

The group that has claimed the takeover, the Democratic Iraqi Opposition of Germany, said its occupation would be "peaceful and temporary." The Iraqi National Congress, the main Iraqi opposition group in exile, has condemned the action.