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Another GI Killed In Iraq

US soldiers conduct a house to house check after one US soldier was killed and five injured in an early morning attack in Fallujah, Iraq, Thursday June 5, 2003.
AP
As President Bush flew over the country, U.S. forces locked down an Iraqi neighborhood after once again encountering deadly resistance.

One soldier was killed Thursday and five wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade launched at an Army checkpoint near a police station in the central Iraqi town of Fallujah. The wounded were airlifted to a military field hospital. No identities were made public.

Scores of U.S. Army military police sealed off the area and launched house-to-house searches for the unidentified assailants. Residents said the attack left "blood everywhere."

The attack came as Air Force One passed over Iraq following the end of the president's trip to Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Bush had earlier praised U.S. troops for ridding the world of a "great evil."

Fallujah has been a flashpoint of resistance to American occupation, particularly since late April after confrontations between residents and American forces left 18 Iraqis dead and at least 78 wounded.

In other developments:

  • U.S. forces are holding Lt. Gen. Iyad Futiyeh al-Rawi, who commanded a mass militia force that supposedly included millions of volunteer fighters, a military statement said Thursday. Al-Rawi was No. 30 on the U.S. list of the 55 most-wanted former Iraqi officials.
  • In his last public statement before he retires, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix warned against jumping to conclusions about Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction. Blix, who retires June 30, said now that Saddam Hussein has been ousted from power, "it should be possible to establish the truth."
  • U.N. nuclear experts are preparing to enter Iraq from neighboring Kuwait on Friday to inspect the sprawling Tuwaitha facility southeast of Baghdad. Pentagon officials said U.S. forces had retrieved more than 100 metal barrels and five radiological devices possibly looted from Tuwaitha.
  • Two of Washington's European allies — Ukraine and Slovakia — agreed Thursday to send forces to aid Iraq's reconstruction. Up to 1,800 Ukrainian troops are expected to join the U.S.-led stabilization force, while up to 85 Slovakian engineers are expected to be deployed to perform largely de-mining tasks.
  • Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said Britain would not consider asylum applications from members of Saddam's family who may have committed human rights abuses. Blair's office issued the statement following claims that Saddam's daughters Raghad and Rana and his wife Sajida Khairallah Telfah wish to apply for refugee status in Britain.
  • The U.S.-led occupation authority is devising a code of conduct for Iraqi media, drawing protests from Iraqi reporters who worry for their newfound freedom.

    Thursday's assault came a day after more than 1,500 soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division — which helped fight the war and take Baghdad — moved into Fallujah and surrounding central Iraqi areas.

    The attacker was an "unknown assailant," according to the military statement. It did not say if any Iraqis were killed or wounded in the ensuing battle. Weapons were found in a search of the area after the incident, Green said.

    The attack comes as Mr. Bush and his other pro-war allies face domestic pressure over the credibility of the case to attack Iraq for its suspected possession of weapons of mass destruction.

    No evidence of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons has been uncovered during the U.N. inspections before the war and following Saddam's ouster some two months ago.

    "We're on the look. We'll reveal the truth," Mr. Bush told U.S. troops in Qatar, which hosted the U.S. command center for the war. Without specifically promising weapons would be found, he said, "One thing is certain: no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because the Iraqi regime is no more."

    Feeling the heat of accusations he overstated the Iraqi threat, Blair says he'll cooperate with a parliamentary probe into his handling of intelligence information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    The commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, said Wednesday that the spate of attacks in and around Fallujah was a last-ditch effort by Saddam supporters.

    "I don't see any pattern of centralized command and control over these incidents," McKiernan said.