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American Red Cross Mourns Chechen Deaths

December 17, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Flags at American Red Cross chapters across the country were lowered to half-staff Tuesday as the relief organization mourned the slaughter of six International Red Cross workers in Chechnya.

``We join with our Red Cross colleagues around the world in mourning their deaths,″ Elizabeth Dole told The Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Mrs. Dole plans to return as president of the American Red Cross in January after a leave of absence to campaign for her husband’s presidential bid.

The six were killed while they slept early Tuesday by masked gunmen who forced their way into a Red Cross hospital.

``Such cold-blooded murder is an outrage that won’t be tolerated,″ said Mrs. Dole, who was visiting her mother in Salisbury.

The Washington-based organization asked each of its 1,400 chapters to lower its flag to half-staff.

Thirty-eight American Red Cross workers are stationed abroad on a variety of international humanitarian relief missions, said Red Cross spokesman Roy Clausen. None was among Tuesday’s victims.

No American Red Cross worker ever has been killed while on international assignment, Clausen said.

``The Red Cross, by virtue of its humanitarian mission, operates in areas of the world affected by political conflict and natural disaster,″ he said. ``While every effort is made to ensure the safety of every Red Cross worker, on rare occasion these tragedies do occur.″

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