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Iraq's Assembly to Convene March 16, Anniversary of Attack on Kurds


Iraqi officials say the country's newly elected National Assembly will hold its first meeting in just 10 days, even though a new government has yet to be named.

The March 16th date marks the 17th anniversary of a chemical-weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq ordered by former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi officials will continue work on Cabinet assignments and the selection of other officials in hopes a new government can be finalized before the 275-member National Assembly convenes.

Wrangling over top government posts by Iraq's ethnic and religious communities has delayed the first meeting of the assembly, which is to draft a constitution and arrange elections for a permanent government.

On March 16th, 1988, an estimated 5,000 civilians were killed and 10,000 injured when Iraqi air forces bombarded Halabja with mustard gas and other poisons.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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