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Doctors Without Borders pull out of Iraq
Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says it is pulling out of Iraq because of escalating violence in the country and danger to its staff.
MSF (Doctors Without Borders) says it has taken the decision "in the light of the extreme risks taken in the country by humanitarian workers".
It blames the pullout primarily on the risk of kidnappings and violence by insurgents, as well as on coalition forces limiting its "humanitarian space".
"It has become impossible for us, as an international humanitarian organisation, to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, whether they are expatriates or Iraqis," Gorik Ooms, director general of MSF-Belgium, said.
"We deeply regret that we are no longer able to bring medical aid to the Iraqi people when they need it the most."
Six more foreigners were kidnapped in Iraq on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the kidnappers of Irish-born aid official Margaret Hassan, the head of Iraq operations for leading charity CARE International, have threatened to hand her to Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Only two months ago MSF vowed it would press on providing aid inside the country despite deteriorating security conditions.
"The security factor has really gradually deteriorated in the past few months and very recently we have a feeling it is becoming increasingly dangerous to be associated with a humanitarian organisation," MSF spokeswoman Eva van Beek said.
MSF says the warring sides in Iraq have repeatedly shown "their lack of respect for independent humanitarian aid".
The agency won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize for its aid work around the world.