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Iraqi Cabinet Unanimously Approves Revised Oil Revenue Law


Iraq's Cabinet has approved a new draft of a law that would distribute potentially huge oil revenues among the country's Kurdish, Shi'ite and Sunni groups.

The Cabinet unanimously approved the newly revised measure Tuesday. Iraq's parliament is scheduled to begin debating it on Wednesday.

Kurds and others criticized the original version's revenue distribution formula as unfair. Most of Iraq's oil is concentrated in the mainly Shi'ite south and Kurdish north, with little in the predominantly Sunni Arab central region.

The United States views the long-stalled revenue sharing measure as necessary for Iraqi national reconciliation. Iraq has the world's third largest oil reserves.

In other news, the U.S. military said insurgents shot down a U.S. helicopter Monday near Baghdad, but attack helicopters rescued the two slightly wounded pilots.

The U.S. military said Tuesday that coalition forces killed three terrorists, including an al-Qaida in Iraq leader, and detained 29 others. Coalition forces also destroyed a cache of chemicals and bomb-making materials during a raid in Taji.

Monday, Iran rejected U.S. accusations that Tehran is using the Lebanese-based Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah to arm Shi'ite militants in Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, says U.S. officials have been making what he called false and ridiculous statements for political gains without providing evidence.

The U.S. military accused Iran's elite Quds forces and Hezbollah instructors of training about "20 to 60 Iraqis at a time" in Iran, then sending them back to Iraq for attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.