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A team of Red Cross relief workers set out for Basra Thursday to assess the needs of the civilian population in the embattled Iraqi city.

A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said five delegates, who left from Kuwait City, would be followed by a convoy carrying 3.5 tons of medicines and three tons of food. She said the convoy would be accompanied by four more Red Cross representatives.She said it was the first Red Cross mission to Basra and followed guarantees of safe passage from parties involved in the conflict.