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Four Iranian pilgrims shot dead in Iraq by US forces

Baghdad, April 7, IRNA -- Four Iranian pilgrims were killed and three others injured by US forces, the official in charge of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs Organization in Kerbala announced Wednesday.

A vehicle carrying 11 Iranian pilgrims enroute from Najaf to the holy city of Kerbala, was targeted by US military forces, Hossein Vaezi said regretting that the four passengers were killed and three others were injured.

The Iraqi driver of the vehicle was also killed during the attack, he added.

The bodies of those killed and the injured Iranian pilgrims are kept in al-Hussein hospital in Kerbala, the official said.

Meanwhile, two Iranian pilgrims were shot dead and injured in clashes in the holy city of Najaf on Sunday.

Iran's Interior Ministry Tuesday called on Iranian people not to travel to Iraq under the current critical conditions in that country.

The ministry stressed, in a statement, that with respect to the critical conditions and lack of security in Iraq, those willing to make pilgrimage in that country are recommended not to travel to Iraq.

Over 120 Iranians kept in Iraqi jails, official says

Baghdad, April 7, IRNA -- Iran's Charge d'Affaires to Iraq Hassan Kazemi Qomi said here Wednesday that over 120 Iranian nationals are presently being kept in prisons in different cities of Iraq.

He told IRNA that about 80 prisoners are pilgrims who have illegally travelled to Iraq to visit the holy shrines. However, he noted, a number of Iranians are in prison in Iraq for drug-related offenses.

The official further remarked that the charges brought up against many Iranians have not been proven by Iraqi judiciary.

According to the Charge d'Affaires, the conditions of Iranian prisoners are constantly being checked by the Iranian Embassy officials.

... Payvand News - 4/7/04 ... --

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