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Bremer: Iraq Will Need Outside Help after June 30th - 2004-04-19


The top U.S. administrator in Iraq says Iraqi security forces will not be able to deal with threats on their own after power is turned over to a new government June 30th.

Paul Bremer says events in the past two weeks -- including failure by Iraqi forces to stop insurgents from overrunning police stations and attacking public buildings -- show Iraq still needs outside help.

Mr. Bremer says troops from many countries, including the United States, will be partners in providing security until Iraqi forces are fully equipped and trained to deal with security threats.

Ten U.S. troops and dozens of insurgents have been killed in fighting across Iraq since Saturday. Five U.S. Marines died in in a 14-hour battle near the Syrian border.

In another development, a spokesman for radical Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says militia under his control will observe a truce in the holy city of Najaf today (Monday) and Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's death.

Mr. al-Sadr and many of his fighters have been holed up for several days in Najaf, which is surrounded by U.S. troops. The standoff follows days of fighting between the two sides in several Iraqi towns earlier this month.

Nearly 100 U.S. troops have been killed in battle this month. Unconfirmed reports say about a thousand Iraqi insurgents and civilians have been killed.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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