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Insurgents Fire Mortar at US-Iraqi Ceremony in Tikrit

22 November 2005

Senior U.S. and Iraqi officials had a close call Tuesday, when insurgents fired a mortar shell at a ceremony they were attending in northern Iraq. The shell landed near the officials, but did not explode.

The incident happened as U.S. forces handed over to Iraqi forces control of a former palace belonging to Saddam Hussein in his hometown of Tikrit. U.S. troops had been using the building as a headquarters since 2003.

At the ceremony were U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey, who is the commander of U.S. troops in Iraq.

No one was hurt and the handover continued several minutes later.

Elsewhere, the U.S. military reports that a Marine was killed Monday during combat operations in western Iraq, near Habbaniyah.

And Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is visiting Iran, where he met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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