U.S. Soldier Killed in Northern Iraq
Oct. 24, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A U.S. soldier was killed Friday in northern Iraq, officials said. A roadside bomb also wounded several troops in the western city of Fallujah, witnesses said, in the sixth attack by insurgents there in as many days.
U.S. officials in northern Iraq confirmed the death of the soldier, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul, but gave no further details. The U.S. command in Baghdad had no information on the incident.
The death brings to 106 the number of American soldiers killed by hostile fire since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.
In Baghdad, at least two Iraqis were killed and seven wounded when rockets fell on the Ad-Doura neighborhood of the capital, residents said. The rockets smashed into several stalls in the Ad-Doura market and caused slight damage to the Ad-Doura power plant about 200 yards away.
``We were sitting in our living room when the explosion happened. My son was hurt by the broken glass,'' said Khalid Hashem, showing the bandaged wound on his son's back.
The U.S. military command in Baghdad had no immediate comment on 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 wounded U.S. soldiers were evacuated after American soldiers sprayed the area with gunfire. Several Iraqi civilians also were reportedly detained, including one who was dragged from his vehicle and punched repeatedly in the kidney as he fell to the ground.
``Immediately after the attack, which damaged a Humvee, troops fired randomly and two helicopters hovered overhead,'' said one witness, Youssef Mohammed. ``The troops arrested five shopkeepers who were in their shops close to the location of the blast.''
It was the sixth straight day of attacks against American forces in Fallujah since gunners blasted a disabled ammunition truck there Sunday, causing no casualties but setting off thunderous explosions.
An American paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division was killed by a bomb the following day, and another soldier was wounded Thursday by a homemade explosive.
Fallujah is located in an arc of resistance, which 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.
On Thursday, an American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb near Baqouba, 40 miles northeast of Baghdad in the area controlled by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, which has suffered more attacks than any other U.S. command in Iraq.
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.
Also Thursday, two Iraqi guards were killed in a bombing near an oil pipeline 150 miles north of the capital, U.S. officials said. Ten other members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Force were wounded by the blast.
The attacks came as representatives of 77 nations gathered Friday in Spain to wrap up a two-day conference to raise money for Iraqi reconstruction. U.S. and Iraqi officials pleaded for billions to rebuild the nation.
The violence, six months after a U.S.-led force toppled Saddam's regime, has raised concern about prospects for a quick revival of Iraq's economy, despite the country's vast petroleum reserves.
After the $20 billion package now before the U.S. Congress, Japan offered the biggest pledge: $1.5 billion in grants for 2004 and 3.5 billion in loans for 2005-2007, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said.
Several other countries promised multimillion dollar promises, but France and Germany _ two leading opponents of the U.S.-led war _ were withholding new aid to register their disapproval of the U.S. blueprint for restoring Iraqi sovereignty.