Three GIs Killed In Iraq

A soldier carry an injured soldier towards a stretcher, Tuesday, Oct 7, 2003 after a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of U.S. troops driving near central Tikrit, slightly injuring three soldiers.(AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)
Three U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed and three other service members were wounded in a pair of roadside bombings in central Iraq, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

They were the first reported deaths by hostile fire of American soldiers in Iraq since Friday.

The deaths came on a tense day in Baghdad.

Some 2,000 former intelligence officers demonstrated, demanding their jobs back. U.S. helicopters and Humvees responded when 600 Shiites protested, claiming the U.S. had illegally detained their imam, which could not be confirmed. Earlier, the Foreign Ministry building was hit by a mortar shell, causing no injuries.

The latest deaths bring to 91 the number of American soldiers killed by hostile fire in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations here May 1.

A total of 320 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the United States and Britain launched military operations against Saddam Hussein's government on March 20.

In other developments:

  • The Turkish parliament voted to give the government permission to send troops to Iraq — a victory for U.S. diplomacy aimed at getting more foreign troops to share the load. It was unclear, however, just how many troops would be sent.
  • House Republicans' $86.7 billion proposal for Iraq and Afghanistan includes money President Bush wants for an Iraqi witness protection program but drops funds he sought for that country's traffic police and ZIP codes.
  • A secret, unpublished section of the spending package was reported last week to include $600 million for the so-far fruitless weapons search. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. who chairs a key appropriations panel, says the amount is around what's been reported. But an aide said later the senator based his statement on news reports, not the legislation.
  • The single tube of botulinum found in an Iraqi scientist's home, which the British and U.S. governments cited as evidence of Iraqi intent to manufacture biological weapons, was hidden there ten years ago, Kay said Sunday.
  • The White House is highlighting areas where it says Iraq is moving ahead. Americans just back from reconstruction jobs in Iraq describe a country where schools and banks are open, courts are functioning and power stations are finally turning out enough electricity for the whole nation.
  • The United States said it would weigh suggested changes to its draft Security Council resolution, which has been criticized for not giving the United Nations a larger role in rebuilding postwar Iraq.

    The tense confrontations Tuesday between soldiers and protesters echoes incidents over the weekend, when ex-soldiers rioted repeatedly outside a U.S. Army base in central Baghdad, demanding promised one-time payments of $40.

    Two protesters were killed in a Saturday incident when they were fired on by soldiers and Iraqi police. U.S. officials said Saturday was the last day of the payment program, and all eligible former soldiers had been paid.

    Similar disturbances were reported between ex-soldiers and British forces in Basra in the far south of the country over the weekend.

    North of Baghdad, in the important oil refining town of Baiji, remnants of the Fedayeen Saddam militia attack U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police for two days. One resident reportedly died after being shot in the crossfire. Two Turkish fuel tankers were hit with explosives and burned.

    A leader of the Iraqi resistance who met with a reporter from the Los Angeles Times claims the insurgence is getting stronger, gaining weapons and money. "The American Army will feel that Vietnam was just a playground by comparison," the man, calling himself "Commander A" said.

    In the first attack Tuesday, one soldier attached to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was killed and another wounded in a bombing about 9:50 p.m. Monday just west of the Iraqi capital, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

    About an hour later, another roadside bombing killed two soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and their Iraqi translator, the military said. Two other soldiers were injured in the bombing, which took place in al-Haswah about 25 miles south of Baghdad.

    Names of the victims were withheld pending notification of kin.

    The U.S. draft resolution on Iraq asks both the United Nations and the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to help the Governing Council adopt a constitution, hold elections and train civil servants. It endorses a step-by-step transfer of authority to an Iraqi interim administration but sets no timetable.

    The United States presented the initial draft in August and brought back the revised version last week.

    Diplomats said the 15-member U.N. Security Council spent Monday's session questioning the United States over the revised resolution that seeks to create a broad multinational force to secure Iraq. It also would give the United Nations a limited role in the transfer of power to the Iraqis after a popular government is elected in Baghdad.

    The U.S. envoy said no further consultations were scheduled after Monday's meeting of the Council ended with little progress on bridging divisions over how and when to hand over power to the Iraqis.

    "We've reached a time to take a brief pause for everybody to digest what had been said and see how it affected our thinking," said John Negroponte, who is also the president of the council for October and schedules council meetings.

    The United States wants its hand-picked Iraqi Governing Council to adopt a constitution, hopefully within six months, then hold elections six months after that. Power would be relinquished only after an elected government is installed, according to the U.S. plan.

    U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week ruled out a U.N. political role as long as American and British forces are running Iraq. Annan wants the United States to hand over sovereignty within five months to an Iraqi provisional government.