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American troops killed and wounded in Iraq

AP, posted by The Crimson Repat | 04.07.2003 09:49 | Social Struggles | World

One US soldier killed and 10 wounded in various attacks in Iraq on July 3 in an "increasingly bold insurgency". US troops are however still planning Fourth of July barbecues.

Attacks Leave U.S. Soldier Dead, 10 Hurt

Friday July 4, 2003 9:09 AM


Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Mortar rounds slammed into a U.S. base north of Baghdad, wounding at least 10 American troops, and another U.S. soldier was shot and killed while guarding the national museum in the capital, the U.S. military said Friday.

The attacks cast a shadow over the July 4th holiday for the 150,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

Several explosions rocked the base near Balad, 55 miles north of the capital, late Thursday, said Cpl. Todd Pruden, a spokesman for the U.S. military. The area is within a hot zone known as the ``Sunni triangle,'' an area north and west of Baghdad where Saddam Hussein enjoyed his greatest support.

It is also an area where U.S. troops are conducting an operation to root out Saddam loyalists.

The wounded soldiers' condition was not immediately known. ``All we know is they were evacuated to medical facilities,'' Pruden said.

On Thursday evening, a sniper shot and killed a U.S. soldier manning the gunner's hatch of a Bradley fighting vehicle outside the national museum. The soldier was taken to a military hospital, but died of his wounds, Pruden said. His name was not immediately available.

Hours before the attack, the national museum displayed several artifacts that were looted after the fall of Baghdad and later recovered. The museum also showed several items from the Treasures of Nimrud, which were found hidden in a bank vault weeks ago. Curators acknowledged that many of the museum's treasures remain unaccounted for.

The soldier's name was not immediately available.

U.S. soldiers have been beset by daily attacks from an increasingly bold insurgency, raising fear of a political and military quagmire just two months after President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

At least 27 U.S. troops have been killed in hostile fire since Bush's statement.

Despite the attacks, many of the U.S. troops planned July 4th barbecues at bases around the country. A few were to join Arnold Schwarzenegger at Baghdad International Airport for a screening of the muscle-bound actor's latest movie, ``Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.''

In the north, American forces planned joint celebrations with Kurdish officials. The Kurds celebrate July 4 as the anniversary of their first government's election in 1992.

U.S. officials have said the insurgency is being fueled by doubts about Saddam's fate and crushing it is crucial.

The American sweep, dubbed Sidewinder, has netted at least 20 ``high-value'' targets, but none of the most wanted Iraqi fugitives. Arms and ammunition, including hundreds of rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs, have also been seized.

On Thursday, U.S. troops near Baqouba, northeast of the capital, tried to lure attackers into an ambush on a stretch of road known as ``RPG Alley'' because of the frequent attacks on U.S. forces there. One suspect was killed and three captured in the operation, said Lt. Kurt Chapman, with the Army's 4th Infantry Division.

``We're trying to be a little bit more proactive and find them before they get us,'' Chapman said.

Also Thursday, Washington put a $25 million bounty on Saddam Hussein's head and offered $15 million for information leading to the capture of either of his sons, Udai and Qusai.

The reward for Saddam matches the $25 million that Washington is offering its other top fugitive: Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader missing since U.S. forces helped dislodge the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The last reported sighting of Saddam was on April 9, a day before the capital fell, in northeast Baghdad. He was the target of at least two major U.S. air strikes, but there was never any proof either was successful. Based on information from captured colleagues, officials believe they were not.

Saddam loyalists reportedly are warning Iraqis not to cooperate with American occupation authorities, saying the ousted leader will one day come back to punish those who do. The mystery over Saddam's whereabouts is encouraging the resistance.

Scattered violence on Thursday wounded 10 American soldiers. During the skirmishes, which included convoy and sniper attacks, U.S. troops killed at least two Iraqis and wounded several more.

AP, posted by The Crimson Repat