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US Secretary of State Rice Pays Surprise Visit to Iraq


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice walks with Kurdish Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani, right, during a surprise visit to Irbil in northern Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Iraq for talks with U.S. and Iraqi authorities trying to quell an insurgency that has claimed more than 400 lives so far this month.

Ms. Rice arrived unannounced under heavy guard early Sunday in northern Iraq, where she met with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. She then held meetings with government leaders and U.S. commanders in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says he can not confirm reports that terror leader Musab al-Zarqawi has been seriously wounded west of Baghdad.

His comments came after London's Sunday Times quoted an Iraqi doctor who says he treated Zarqawi Wednesday at a Ramadi hospital. He said the terrorist was bleeding heavily when treated and left despite recommendations that he remain under hospital care.

The report says the doctor was debriefed by U.S. authorities Friday.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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