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Kufa Truce Disrupted for Second Day
VOA News
29 May 2004, 11:59 UTC

U.S. soldiers and Iraqi militiamen have clashed in the southern Iraqi city of Kufa, further eroding a fragile two-day old cease-fire.

Fighters loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr blamed U.S. troops for starting the fighting, but American forces say they were fired on with rocket-propelled grenades and other fire.

The two sides also clashed Friday, leaving unclear the status of a truce agreed on Thursday.

And in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police say a Kurdish official and at least three members of his family were killed when their car was ambushed Saturday.

The latest violence comes as Iraq's new transitional government is about to be formed. In a surprise announcement Friday, the U.S.-appointed Governing Council announced that former exile and opposition leader Iyad Allawi will be the country's first post-war prime minister.

U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi welcomed the nomination and said he is ready to work with Mr. Allawi to form the new government that is to run Iraq after the June 30 transfer of sovereignty from the U.S. led coalition.

Reports Saturday say choices for other top interim government positions, including president and two vice presidential slots, are likely to be announced by Sunday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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