Iraq Attacks Kill 2 More GIs

A U.S. soldier was killed Thursday when his armored personnel carrier ran over a land mine on the dangerous road from central Baghdad to the city's airport, the military reported.

The mine exploded beneath a M113 armored personnel carrier, killing the soldier and wounding three others.

It was the second death reported by the military Thursday, a soldier was killed in a small-arms fire attack northeast of Baghdad late Wednesday night. Two others were wounded. The U.S. Central Command said the soldiers were from the 4th Infantry Division.

In Baghdad, Iraqi witnesses reported another attack on two U.S. trucks carrying unexploded ordnance to Baghdad International Airport for destruction. The witnesses said a rocket-propelled grenade was fired on one truck and the ordnance exploded. A U.S. armored vehicle could be seen burning on the road.

Ali Khamid said he saw two U.S. soldiers taken away by helicopter and two others, faces covered as if dead, loaded into an ambulance. The military said it had no information on the incident.

The latest confirmed deaths brought to 51 the number of U.S. troops killed in hostile action since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq. In all, 166 Americans have been killed in combat in Iraq, 18 more than died in the 1991 Gulf War.

In other recent developments:

  • Two of Saddam Hussein's daughters and their nine children received refuge Thursday in Jordan on humanitarian grounds, Information Minister Nabil al-Sharif said. Raghad and Rana Saddam Hussein arrived in the kingdom from the United Arab Emirates, al-Sharif said.
  • The Bush administration has approved the payment of $30 million in reward money to the tipster who supplied the critical information that led U.S. troops to the hideout of Saddam Hussein's two sons, slain two weeks ago, a U.S. official said Thursday.
  • The man who is spearheading the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction will be on Capitol Hill Thursday, giving the Senate a closed-door briefing on how things are going. Former United Nations weapons inspector David Kay has already talked with President Bush, who says it will take time to analyze the "miles of documents" that have been recovered. Mr. Bush says Kay's analysis involves not only the weapons program, but also links to terrorist groups. The president acknowledged the search will "take awhile," but says he has no doubt "the truth will come out" about the weapons program.
  • More than Iraqi 200 tribal leaders gathered Wednesday in front of the house of Prince Rabiah Muhammed al-Habib, one of the country's most influential tribal leaders, to protest a U.S. raid on his home in Baghdad's al-Mansour neighborhood Sunday in search for Saddam. A nearby hospital reported five Iraqis were killed in the shooting. The American military said it is looking into the incident.
  • President Bush says the deaths of Saddam Hussein's two sons do represent progress in assuring the Iraqi people that the old regime is gone forever. But Mr. Bush emphasizes he doesn't know "how close we are" to finding the deposed dictator. "Closer than we were yesterday, I guess. All I know is we're on the hunt," said the president, at a White House news conference on Wednesday.
  • Mr. Bush also accepted personal responsibility for a disputed portion of his State of the Union speech dealing with claims that Saddam was seeking nuclear material in Africa. "I take personal responsibility for everything I say, absolutely," the president said, as he sought to quell a controversy that has dogged his administration for weeks.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair says his administration still hasn't convinced the British public that the war on Iraq was justified. Blair was asked Wednesday if he thought voters mistrusted his administration. The prime minister responded, "I accept there is an issue which we have to confront."

    It is in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," a heavily Sunni Muslim area to the north and west of Baghdad where support for ousted dictator Saddam Hussein has been strongest and where U.S. forces have come under the most attacks.

    The death of the soldier late Wednesday broke a period of relative peace. No U.S. soldier had been reported killed in combat in Iraq in more than 48 hours.

    Early Thursday in Baghdad, the U.S. administrator for Iraq - L. Paul Bremer - said he believes general elections might be held in Iraq within a year to replace the U.S.-appointed Governing Council whose legitimacy has been questioned by the international community.

    Bremer, a former diplomat and counter-terrorism expert, said the elections would be held once a new constitution has been written and accepted by the Iraqi people in a referendum.

    "It is certainly not unrealistic to think that we could have elections by mid-year 2004," Bremer said while touring the partially refurbished Iraqi Foreign Ministry with members of the interim government he appointed on July 13. "And when a sovereign government is installed, the coalition authority will cede authority to the government and my job here will be over."