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Baghdad bomb kills 1, injures 5

A bomb exploded at Iraq's Ministry of Religious Affairs on Wednesday, killing one person and seriously wounding five others, Iraqi television announced.

There was no claim of responsibility, but the television report blamed "agents hired by the enemies of Iraq." That usually is considered to be a reference to Kurdish separatists or Iranian-linked Shiite Muslim rebels.

Another bombing, of the government-owned newspaper Al Jumhuriya in which a child was reported killed, was acknowledged by the government on Aug. 22. Normally, the Iraqi media refrain from reporting activities attributed to opponents of the government of President Saddam Hussein.

But over the last few days, the tightly controlled media have reported on what is said to be the degree of suffering to which the Iraqi population has been subjected as a result of the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations over the last four years.

Detailed reports of thousands of Iraqis, particularly children, have been shown on television and many have been reported by the press to be dying for lack of medication.

The reports placed the blame for these deaths on the United States, which also was accused repeatedly over the last two weeks of leading a campaign "to starve the Iraqi people."

In Washington, meanwhile, the Pentagon is considering formally halting deployment of thousands of additional troops to the Persian Gulf, now that Hussein has shifted forces that once threatened Kuwait. There are 26,000 U.S. forces in the region.

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