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Iraq: Former Opposition Leaders Meet In Baghdad

Baghdad, 1 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A group of Iraqi political leaders are today expected to meet to try and set up an interim government to fill the political void after the collapse of the former Iraqi regime. Mas'ud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), said leaders of five former opposition groups met in Baghdad late yesterday and are expected to resume talks today.

Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) attended yesterday's meeting along with Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, deputy head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Ayad Alawi, leader of the Iraqi National Accord movement, also attended yesterday's meeting.

Also today, Ole Woehler Olsen, Denmark's ambassador to Syria since 2000, was appointed to lead Iraq's southern Basra Province, one of Iraq's four administrative regions.

In other news, U.S. officers in Iraq say seven U.S. soldiers were wounded today when two unidentified men lobbed two grenades over the wall of their offices in Al-Fallujah, a city outside Baghdad.

The soldiers were in the local headquarters of the former ruling Ba'ath Party in an area of central Al-Fallujah where twice this week U.S. troops opened fire on crowds of residents protesting the U.S. military presence.

Doctors and witnesses said 13 people were killed Monday night (28 April) and three were killed yesterday.