Iraq Violence Claims 2 GIs

Iraqi Shiite men march through the CPA, Coalition Provisional Authority, headquarters to gather for Friday prayers in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday April 2, 2004. AP

As U.S. commanders vowed retaliation for the brutal treatment of American corpses in one Iraqi town this week, two more U.S. servicemembers died from hostile action.

A roadside bomb killed an American soldier and wounded another in Baghdad on Friday, and a U.S. Marine died as a result of hostile action west of the capital a day earlier, the military said. The deaths brought the number of U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq to at least 599.

Meanwhile, in the city where four American contractors were killed and their bodies brutalized on Wednesday, U.S. officials promised punishment for the culprits "at the time and place of our choosing."

A cleric condemned the mutilation but did not criticize the killings.

"Islam does not condone the mutilation of the bodies of the dead," Sheik Fawzi Nameq told 600 people at the Hmood al-Mahmood Mosque in Fallujah, a few blocks from the scene of the deadly ambush.

"Why do you want to bring destruction to our city? Why do you want to bring humiliation to the faithful? My brothers, wisdom is required here," said Nameq, who refrained from making a judgment on the killings. Clerics in Fallujah strongly oppose the U.S.-led occupation and often use sermons to criticize American authority.

In other developments:

  • A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the entrance to a town hall near the northern city of Kirkuk on Friday, killing himself and two other people, police said.

  • In the city of Baqouba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad, gunmen fired on two police cars late Thursday, killing three officers and wounding two, said Loua'ie Adel, an official at Baqouba General Hospital.

  • In an interview with ZDF German television, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday he thought the U.N. Security Council would approve a new Iraq resolution on peacekeeping and security arrangements "as we move closer to the first of July," the date sovereignty is scheduled to revert to Iraqi control.

  • South Korea will send nearly 3,600 troops to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the military said Friday, two weeks after Seoul rattled allies by scrubbing plans for a mission to the northern town of Kirkuk.

    The soldier who was killed Friday in Baghdad belonged to the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division, the military said in a statement. The attack occurred at around 6 a.m. in the Mansour neighborhood.

    The injured soldier was in stable condition at a combat support hospital, the military said.

    Separately, a U.S. Marine was killed "as a result of enemy action" in Anbar province on Thursday, according to a statement from Camp Fallujah, the Marine base in the area.

    In Fallujah, police on Friday manned regular roadside checkpoints and there was no sign of U.S. troops in or around the city.

    On Thursday, the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council issued a statement condemning "the cold blooded slaughter and mutilation of civilians" and vowed that "those murderers who carried out these terrorist acts will not hinder or disrupt the march of our people toward the dawn of freedom and democracy."

    Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt pledged to hunt down those who carried out the killings, but said clashes could be avoided if Fallujah city officials arrest those responsible for the murders.

    "If they were to deliver these people to the criminal justice system, we will come back in and start the rebuilding of Fallujah. That is their choice," he said.

    A Fallujah city council member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the council met late Thursday and issued a statement "condemning the mutilation of the bodies in the streets because it contradicts the teachings of Islam and it is unacceptable in the religious point of view."

    He did not say whether a decision was made to take action against those responsible for the killings.

    U.S. commanders defended their decision not to send forces into Fallujah on Wednesday to retrieve the charred remains of the Americans, who were dragged through the streets for hours after insurgents ambushed their vehicles. Two of the corpses were hung from a bridge as people beat them with shoes and a pole. Iraqi police eventually collected their remains at the request of American troops.

    Kimmitt said U.S. forces didn't respond for fear of ambushes and the possibility that insurgents would use civilians as human shields. "A pre-emptive attack into the city could have taken a bad situation and made it even worse," he said.

    "We are not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city. It will be deliberate, it will be precise and it will be overwhelming. ... We will plan our way through this and we will re-establish control of that city. ... It will be at the time and place of our choosing," he said.

    There was little or no remorse in Fallujah in the wake of the mutilations, reports CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier. Many people there are still defiant, promising to deal more deaths to other Americans.

    "We wish that they would try to enter Fallujah so we'd let hell break loose," Ahmed al-Dulaimi said. "We will not let any foreigner enter Fallujah," said Sameer Sami. "Yesterday's attack is proof of how much we hate the Americans."

    Army Sgt. John Ratliff, a friend of Michael Teague, one of the men killed Wednesday, told the CBS News Early Show that the Army veteran Teague "was a warrior."

    "Mike had been deployed from February of 2003 to December of 2003 in Afghanistan. And he knew what he was getting into," Ratliff said.

    "Mike didn't feel as if he had accomplished what he wanted to accomplish while he was there and he wanted to go back and help as many people as he could," he said.
    • Joel Roberts

    Comments