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6/27/04 - IRAQI PRIME MINISTER TARGETED - 2004-06-28


As the interim government in Iraq prepares to take over the reins of power from the U.S.-led coalition, terrorists are continuing their attacks. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has been targeted by Al-Qaida’s main terrorist operative in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose threat was delivered in an audiotape to the media.

Prime Minister Allawi has made the security of Iraq his top priority. He has announced that Iraq’s security forces are being restructured under a central command. Their chief duty will be to stop the foreign terrorists and Baathist remnants that are trying to prevent the emergence of a democratic Iraq. “They are trying to destroy our country,” Mr. Allawi said, “and we are not going to allow this”:

“Many of these elements are supported financially and logistically by foreign sources. My government is determined to deal with these elements and to develop Iraqi forces capable of providing adequate security for the Iraqi people.”

Coalition spokesman Dan Senor says the Iraqi interim government will be tested after the July 1st handover of power:

“Terrorists and the Baathist diehards that are looking to wreak havoc in this country probably have every good reason -- according to them -- to test the will of the new government. And I think the statements from the new leadership have been quite strong in that regard, that they will do everything they can to beat back this terrorist threat and not allow it to throw this path to democracy off track.”

President George W. Bush says that more violence can be expected in the weeks and months ahead. “But the future of a free Iraq,” he says, “is now coming into view. As the interim government assumes authority, and Iraqi security forces defend their country, our coalition will play a supporting role. The Prime Minister [Allawi] and I share the same resolve. The traitors will be defeated.”

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