No End To Violence In Iraq

United States Marines, from left, Pfc. Christopher Harmon, Lance Cpl. T.J. Monthie and Lance Cpl. Josh Carbajal of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, take custody of an Iraqi man outside his house in Baghdad, who neighborhood residents say was a Baath Party loyalist and was threatening and shooting at neighbors who spoke to American troops. AP

Army forces Wednesday exchanged fire with a small number of die-hard paramilitary fighters north of Baghdad, then proceeded to take out two surface-to-air missile systems and three anti-aircraft guns left over from Saddam's military.

After days of looting and mayhem in the Iraqi capital, Americans armed newly recruited Iraqi police officers with handguns to help keep order.

Deadly gunfire broke out in the northern city of Mosul for a second straight day on Wednesday, and some of the wounded said they were shot by American troops.

Seventeen people were killed, hospital officials said, allegedly by U.S. forces. At least 18 were injured in the violence that started Tuesday in Iraq's third-largest city.

The U.S. Central Command in Qatar confirmed that American troops killed about seven Iraqis during a demonstration Tuesday but did not immediately comment on accusations that U.S. Marines shot civilians on Wednesday. Hospital administrators put the death toll at 14 Tuesday and three Wednesday.

The violence underscored that although the worst of the fighting may be over peace had not come to Iraq.

In other major developments:

  • President Bush signed a nearly $80 billion spending bill to cover the costs of the war in Iraq and called on the United Nations to lift crippling economic sanctions against Baghdad. A senior defense official said the Pentagon has spent about $20 billion so far to fight the war.

  • The overall commander of the war, Gen. Tommy Franks visited Baghdad on Wednesday, his first trip to the capital since combat.

  • U.S. special forces raided the Baghdad home of Rihab Taha, a microbiologist nicknamed "Dr. Germ," who ran Iraq's secret biological laboratory. Taha was in charge of a laboratory that weaponized anthrax. Troops brought out boxes of documents and three men with their hands up. Taha's whereabouts weren't immediately known.

  • Seven American POWs who were rescued in Iraq arrived late Wednesday at a U.S. base in Germany, where they were to be examined at a military hospital. The six men and one woman, five of them comrades of former POW Jessica Lynch, were in good shape and not expected to stay long in Germany, military officials said.

  • U.S. officials would not disclose their plans for Abu Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner Achille Lauro in 1985. He was captured during one of several commando raids Monday on hideouts of the Palestine Liberation Front.

  • The Marines said one of their units found an abandoned terrorist training camp where recruits had been taught how to make bombs. Cpl. John Hoellwarth, said the camp consisted of about 20 permanent buildings and had been operated jointly by the Iraqi regime and the Palestine Liberation Front.

  • Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Bush administration has expressed concerns about Syrian actions, but has no plan for a military move against the Damascus government. In recent weeks, the U.S. has accused Syria of providing Iraq with war material, giving haven to senior Iraqi officials and permitting Syrian fighters to join the war.

  • U.S. troops will set up occupation zones this week dividing Iraq into three areas, the Washington Post reports, with the Army in the north, the Marines in the south, and an Army general handling the capital.

  • The U.S. military said Wednesday that 132 U.S. service members have died in the war and three are missing. The British government said 30 British soldiers have died.

    Central Command spokesman Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said U.S. troops were trying to secure a government building in Mosul when a crowd of townspeople began throwing rocks at them, hitting them with fists, spitting at them and setting cars afire.

    He said some of the Americans fired back after shots were fired at them and some members of the crowd began trying to climb over a wall into the government compound.

    "Fire was, indeed, delivered from coalition forces. It was lethal fire, and some Iraqis were killed…on the order of seven," Brooks said. "The attacking was occurring from two sides and there was clear observation of men with weapons involved in firing on the building."

    In Baghdad, despite the start of joint U.S.-Iraqi police patrols, throngs of looters ransacked sacks of sugar, tea, flour and other food supplies Wednesday from warehouses at the International Fairgrounds. Booty was piled into a red double decker bus, or stuffed into cars which soon became tangled in a traffic jam.

    A U.S. armored personnel carrier was less than a mile away, but the soldiers did not intervene.

    "The remaining areas of Baghdad that have not yet been cleared are all suspected of harboring armed regime loyalists," said Brooks.

    The looting in Baghdad came a day after small numbers of Iraqi policemen resumed law enforcement duties, and made their first arrest, in an American-backed effort to curtail the looting and lawlessness that has plagued Baghdad since Saddam's regime collapsed.

    In one of the U.S. military's most successful policing actions yet, a Marine patrol passing the Iraqi National Bank caught armed robbers Tuesday and recovered $3.6 million in U.S. currency.

    Other Marine patrols conducted raids, sometimes accompanied by Iraqi police, to secure key infrastructure sites. U.S. forces are trying to provide security for hospitals and establish a cellphone service for emergency services to use while the regular telephone system is repaired.

    In western Iraq, an U.S. Army cavalry unit accepted the surrender of the 12th Iraqi Brigade, seizing 40 tanks and close to 1,000 weapons, said Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a U.S. Central Command spokesman. He said the number of prisoners taken had not yet been calculated.
    • Joel Roberts

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