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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 12:50 GMT
French nationals killed in Iraq
US soldiers in Falluja
Falluja has been a hotbed of unrest
Two French nationals have been shot dead in northern Iraq, the French foreign ministry has said.

The pair were killed in the town of Falluja, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital Baghdad, a Foreign Ministry spokesman is quoted as saying.

A third French national was wounded in the drive-by shooting, spokesman Herve Ladsous said, quoted by AFP.

The three were reported to be working for a US company helping rebuild Iraq's infrastructure after the US-led war.

AFP quoted diplomats as saying the group were shot at by a passing vehicle after the car they were travelling in broke down.

Mr Ladsous said the three nationals were not registered with French consular services in Iraq.

"These tragic events lead us to recall, as posted on the foreign ministry's website, that it is urgent that all French nationals currently in Iraq make themselves known to our consular authorities and to the French interests section," he said.

France was one of the leading opponents of the US-led invasion of Iraq and has not sent any troops to join other foreign forces in Iraq since the end of the war there last May.

Falluja is in the so-called Sunni triangle area, where support for ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein remains strong.

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