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Hungary expels Iraqi diplomats


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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Iraqi diplomats have been expelled from Hungary, the Hungarian foreign ministry says.

The expulsion comes after the United States asked countries to remove suspected Iraqi intelligence agents -- some with diplomatic credentials -- because they could pose a threat to U.S. personnel in installations overseas.

The number of countries involved, and the number of Iraqis targeted for expulsion, were not disclosed.

A week ago, Romania told Iraq it was expelling five Iraqi diplomats from Romania, according to the Foreign Ministry in Bucharest.

After consultations with the U.S. and Britain, Australia also expelled an Iraqi diplomat this week based on internal intelligence that the diplomat was "part of the Iraqi intelligence service," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Monday.

The United States ordered two Iraqi diplomats at the United Nations expelled on March 5 for "activities outside the scope of their official functions" that were "harmful" to U.S. national security, a State Department spokeswoman said.

"The two attaches were engaged in activities outside the scope of their official functions. Federal law enforcement authorities deemed the activities to be harmful to our national security," spokeswoman Tara Rigler said.

Hungary has been cooperating with the United States in its preparations for a possible military attack on Iraq.

The United States has an agreement with the eastern European country to train up to 3,000 Iraqi exiles at Taszar Air Base in south-central Hungary over a six-month period. The exiles have volunteered to help coalition forces in the event of war in Iraq.

-- CNN Producer Ingrid Formanek and CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.


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