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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Iraq changes controversial flag
Latest Iraqi flag design (based on information given)
The new version - a darker shade of blue
Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has modified the new national flag after criticism that it looked too much like Israel's.

Like the version announced on Monday, it is white with a blue crescent and has two blue stripes along the bottom, with a yellow stripe between them.

However, the stripes and crescent are now a darker shade of blue.

The Governing Council's Massoud Barzani said it was important to replace the flag of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We cannot raise the flag of a party that committed many crimes against the Iraqi people," he said.

But he stressed that it would only be "Iraq's flag for the coming months until a permanent flag is chosen".

The new design's crescent represents Islam, while the blue lines are meant to be the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the yellow strip stands for the Kurdish minority.

'No consultation'

After the earlier version was announced, hundreds of Iraqis e-mailed BBC News Online to comment on it.

Some said it was a welcome break from the former regime, but many criticised the design.

Many Iraqis expressed regret that not enough of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups - such as Turkmen, Assyrians or Iraqi Christians - were represented in it.

Others, however, felt that it was important to stress Iraqi unity, not diversity.

The biggest complaint was that it had been chosen by Iraq's US-appointed council without consulting the people.

Other Iraqis questioned the Governing Council's priorities, expressing disbelief that it had spent time and resources to change the Iraqi flag while violence raged in the country.

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