Attacks In 3 Iraqi Cities

U.S. Army soldiers secure the area after a roadside bomb exploded Wednesday Oct 22, 2003 in a tunnel in the heart of the Iraqi capital Baghdad as a U.S. military convoy passed by. A U.S. Army officer said two soldiers were slightly injured. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
AP
More Americans and Iraqis became victims of violence Friday in mortar and rocket attacks and gunfights in at least three cities. A U.S. soldier was killed Friday in northern Iraq and 13 troops were injured in a mortar attack north of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

Witnesses also reported a roadside bomb injured several other troops Friday in Fallujah in the sixth attack by insurgents there in as many days.

The dead soldier, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, was killed by small arms fire before dawn Friday in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. Central Command said. No further details were released, and the name was withheld pending notification of kin.

The death brings to 106 the number of American soldiers killed by hostile fire since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1. Since the war started, 341 Americans have died.

The incidents came as representatives of 77 nations gathered Thursday in Spain for a two-day conference to raise money for Iraqi reconstruction. U.S. and Iraqi officials pleaded for billions to rebuild the nation.

During the opening session of the conference, held in Madrid, the European Union's external affairs commissioner, Chris Patten, reminded the United States that countries that opposed the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam are hardly eager to pick up the bill.

"You cannot expect European taxpayers who felt pretty hostile to military intervention to feel terribly enthusiastic about spending a large amount of money in Iraq," Patten said.

In other developments:

  • Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion in new money for Iraqi reconstruction Friday, but the richest country in the Arab world said half would be in loans and the rest in export credits.
  • Between 650,000 to 1 million tons of ammunition remain unaccounted for, scattered all over Iraq, said Brig. Gen. Robert L. Davis, who is overseeing the cleanup campaign.
  • American troops in helicopters swooped down on a remote sheepherding village in the desert and detained nearly all the men, one as old as 81, one as young as 13. A month after the raid, apparently aimed at preventing terrorists from slipping across the border from Saudi Arabia, only two of the 79 captives have been freed.
  • The Washington Post reports a Senate panel is preparing to report that intelligence agencies overstated the threat posed by Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. While there is disagreement on the intelligence committee over the direction of their probe, it currently focuses more on the CIA than the White House.
  • Federal agents have started questioning Bush administration officials in their probe who leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent married to a vocal critic of the Iraq war, The New York Times reports.

    The 13 injured soldiers, from the 4th Infantry Division, were wounded Thursday night when a mortar round struck at hangar at Camp War Horse near Baqouba, about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad, U.S. officials said.

    Three were seriously injured and evacuated but the others were treated at the local aid station, the command said. U.S. troops fired back and pursued the attackers, the command said, but there was no word on any insurgent casualties.

    In a separate incident, the 4th Infantry Division also said two Iraqis were killed after a patrol of its 2nd Brigade was attacked near Baqouba by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire at 10 p.m. Thursday. The Americans pursued the attackers into a house and killed the pair, it said.

    Also Thursday, U.S. troops detained six men digging by a roadside near Beiji, 120 miles north of Baghdad, with the intention to place makeshift bombs there, the 4th Division reported.

    In Baghdad, at least two Iraqis were killed and seven injured when rockets fell overnight in the Ad-Doura neighborhood of the capital, residents said.

    The rockets smashed into several stalls in the Ad-Doura market, leaving a small crater. It also caused slight damage to the Ad-Doura power plant, the city's largest, located about half a mile away.

    There was no report from the U.S. military command in Baghdad about the attack in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad. However, Iraqi witnesses said it occurred Friday morning near a bridge at the western end of the city.

    The witnesses said three injured U.S. soldiers were evacuated after American soldiers sprayed the area with gunfire. After the attack, troops detained several Iraqi civilians, including one who was dragged from his vehicle and punched repeatedly in the kidney as he fell to the ground.

    Fallujah is located in an arc of resistance that also extends north of Baghdad. The area is dominated by Sunni Muslims, the minority community from which ousted leader Saddam Hussein drew most of his support.

    Lt. Col. George Krivo, the U.S. command spokesman, said attacks on coalition forces have averaged about 26 a day over the past two weeks. About three-quarters of the attacks have occurred in an arc stretching from the west through Baghdad to the region north of the capital.