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U.N. Inspectors Ready to Leave Iraq

U.N. Inspectors Ready to Leave Iraq

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(Baghdad, Iraq-AP) -- U-N weapons inspectors are ready to leave Iraq if necessary.

Their spokesman in Baghdad says the inspectors could leave tomorrow if they're ordered to evacuate.

He denies news reports that the remaining inspectors are already checking out of their hotel. He adds, "they need a place to sleep tonight."

Reporters outside the hotel saw Iraqi employees of the U-N leaving with boxes of personal belongings. They also saw inspectors on the roof, taking pictures of one another with the city of Baghdad in the background.

Chief inspector Hans Blix and top nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei say the United States has advised them to start pulling inspectors out of Iraq as war appears imminent.

The order for a pullout hasn't been given yet. Blix says most of the inspectors' helicopters have left because their insurance was canceled.

He also says the number of personnel remaining is low because of a previously scheduled rotation home.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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