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GUNMEN KILL 1 IN ATTACK ON HAITI LEADERS

Four gunmen, including two in army uniforms, opened fire Thursday on a meeting of the government's Council of State, killing a union leader and wounding a council member and another politician, witnesses said.

The shooting occurred at 10:45 a.m. in the courtyard of the Santos Hotel in Port-au-Prince, where the 19-member council was meeting, according to the witnesses and independent Radio Antilles.The civilian council governs alongside President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot. She was not present at the meeting.

The council had called an emergency meeting with various political, business and union groups to discuss a worsening crime wave in the country. Since Tuesday, at least 13 people have been killed in the capital, heightening political uncertainty in the runup to elections scheduled for September.

There have been questions of the military's support for a civilian government. The military and rural police traditionally have controlled many sectors of Haitian society.

A bystander interviewed by independent Radio Metropole said the assailants were armed with M-16 rifles.

Witnesses said the gunmen burst in the courtyard and opened fire.