Iraq: Anti-American Grenade Attack
7 U.S. soldiers hurt in grenade attack
Anti-American sentiment high after fatal shootings
A U.S. soldier shuts himself inside an armored personnel carrier
inside a walled compound in Fallujah, where attackers lobbed two
grenades Thursday, wounding seven soldiers.
NBC, MSNBC AND NEWS SERVICES
FALLUJAH, Iraq, May 1 As President Bush prepared to declare that
major combat in Iraq is over, U.S. troops were attacked in the latest
in a series of clashes and deadly shootings in Fallujah. Attackers
lobbed two grenades into a U.S. Army compound Thursday, wounding
seven soldiers. Just hours earlier, American forces returned fire
from gunmen apparently interspersed among Iraqi protesters in the
street outside, a U.S. intelligence officer reported.
THE ATTACK early Thursday morning on the U.S. base in
Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad, was apparently in
retaliation for the killing of residents by U.S. troops who fired at
angry crowds twice this week, the military said.
"The (Thursday) attack was an expression of the anger of a few
people in the city after what happened," U.S. Captain Alan Vaught
said. The U.S. Central Command said that of seven soldiers wounded,
five required medical attention and were in a stable condition.
The troops inside the walled compound a former police
station opened fire on men fleeing the area, but no one was
captured or believed hit, said Rosenblatt, whose 82nd Airborne
Division is handing over control of Fallujah to the Armored Cavalry.
Officers said the attackers' identities were unknown.
Tensions have flared in Fallujah, where anti-American
sentiment was already high, after soldiers in the compound and in a
passing Army convoy opened fire Wednesday on anti-American
demonstrators massed outside. American officers said that barrage was
provoked when someone fired on the convoy from the crowd.
Local hospital officials said two Iraqis were killed and 18
Fallujah residents denied firing on troops, and no weapons or
suspects have been produced.
Wednesday's march was to protest earlier bloodshed Monday
night, when 16 demonstrators and bystanders were killed and more than
50 wounded, according to hospital counts. In that clash, an 82nd
Airborne company, whose members said they were being shot at, fired
on a protest outside a school occupied by U.S. soldiers.
Demonstrators said that no gunfire came from their side during
the Monday night incident.
Some Fallujah residents said they had heard relatives of
victims vow to avenge Wednesday's shootings and many in the city
have declared they want the American troops to leave.
An Iraqi man lies dead in the street as others, some injured,
scramble for safety in Fallujah, on Wednesday. U.S. troops opened
fire on demonstrators for the second time this week as Iraqis marched
to protest the earlier shooting. Click "Play" to learn more.
`BAD ACTORS' IN FALLUJAH
May 1 Seven U.S. soldiers were injured overnight in Fallujah when
a grenade was lobbed into their position. NBC's Patricia Sabga
Brig. Gen. Dan Hahn, the Army V Corps chief of staff, said
U.S. forces had solid intelligence that the "bad actors" in Fallujah
were members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who were using crowds as
cover during demonstrations.
"The people in the city want to get rid of this problem. We
have people in the city coming up to tell us who the bad actors are,"
Hahn said. "In every instance, our soldiers have shown discipline and
In the future, he said, tear gas and other riot control
measure might be used to quash violent demonstrations.
Fallujah, a city of 200,000 people 30 miles west of Baghdad,
benefited more than most Iraqi towns from Saddam's regime.
The regime built chemical and other factories that generated
jobs for Fallujah's workers and wealth for its businessmen. Many of
its young men joined elite regime forces such as the Republican Guard
and Special Republican Guard.
WashPost: Tension high in Fallujah
U.S. military officials met Wednesday with local religious and
clan leaders on the security situation.
"We asked the commanding officers for an investigation and for
compensation for the families of the dead and injured," said Taha
Bedaiwi al-Alwani, the new, U.S.-recognized mayor of Fallujah.
Residents told reporters they were troubled by soldiers
looking at Fallujah women, and some believed the goggles or
binoculars used by the Americans could see through curtains or
Despite the clashes in Fallujah, U.S. military commanders in
Baghdad said the overall situation in Iraq is improving.
"If you look at the country as a whole, it is stable," said
Hahn. However, he said the massive amount of arms and ammunition
being uncovered daily across Iraq posed a major problem.
"The entire country is almost like an ammunitions and weapons
dump. And they've placed them in places you would not expect," he
said. "There are weapons here from every country in the world that
In the northern city of Mosul, 153 arms caches had already
been found, one containing 1.2 million mortar rounds and 65,000
artillery shells. Some 150 arms and ammunition sites have been
discovered in Baghdad, officials said.
COALITION RADIO BROADCAST
In a radio broadcast Thursday, the commander of U.S. ground
forces in Iraq urged citizens to help move the country forward by
going back to work, stopping looting and cooperating to improve
Lt. Gen. David McKiernan made the statement through
Information Radio, the U.S.-led coalition's station, which is being
broadcast across Iraq.
"I call for putting an end to all acts of sabotage and
criminal acts including plundering, looting and attacking coalition
forces," he said in remarks read by an announcer in Arabic.
Information Radio has been running frequent announcements
exhorting Iraqis to accept U.S. forces, and warning any foreign
fighters in Iraq to leave or face arrest.
McKiernan also said that any checkpoints not supervised by
coalition forces are unauthorized.
Slide show: Occupied Baghdad
Defense officials tell NBC News that a mass grave has been
identified west of Baghdad. Officials say that bodies, skulls and
some uniforms were found. They said it appears that some of those
killed were shot "execution-style." Officials say that the bodies
could be those of Kuwaiti POWs, missing since the 1991 Gulf War.
Defense sources say there are plans to send a sensitive site
exploitation team to examine and investigate the mass grave. Also,
officials say that another mass grave, previously found in northern
Iraq, is believed by U.S. officials to hold the remains of Iranian
A government official in Jordan said customs officers searching
travelers leaving Iraq have confiscated dozens of artworks and
archaeological items that may have been stolen from the National
Museum in Baghdad and Saddam's palaces.
Britain will establish its first diplomatic presence in Iraq for 12
years when a team of officials travels to Baghdad this weekend,
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Thursday. The four-member
diplomatic mission will set up an office to prepare for reopening an
embassy once a new government is in place. The British embassy in
Baghdad closed on Jan. 12 1991, four days before Operation Desert
Storm launched the Gulf War
A group of civil engineers were shot at while working in a gas-oil
separation plant in southern Iraq's Rumeila oil fields, according to
the U.S. Central Command. No injuries were reported; Central Command
did not give the nationality of the engineers or any details about
NBC's Pentagon staff, The Associated Press and Reuters
contributed to this report.
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