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Attack Injures 7 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

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  • MEW
    May 1, 4:28 AM EDT Attack Injures 7 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq By CHARLES J. HANLEY AP Special Correspondent
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2003
      May 1, 4:28 AM EDT

      Attack Injures 7 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq
      AP Special Correspondent


      FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- Attackers lobbed two grenades over a wall and into a compound of U.S. troops in Fallujah on
      Thursday, wounding seven soldiers just hours after they had opened fire on anti-American protesters, a U.S. intelligence
      officer reported.

      None of the injuries to soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was life-threatening, said Capt. Frank Rosenblatt,
      26, of Hampton, Va.

      The troops inside the former police station opened fire on men seen 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 3rd ACR.

      The 1 a.m. attack Thursday came after soldiers in the compound and in a passing Army convoy opened fire Wednesday on
      anti-American demonstrators massed outside, killing two and wounding 18, according to hospital officials.
      American officers said that barrage was provoked when someone fired on the convoy from the crowd.

      Wednesday's march was to protest earlier bloodshed on Monday night, when 16 demonstrators and bystanders were killed and
      more than 50 wounded, according to hospital counts. That took place when an 82nd Airborne company, whose members said
      they were being shot at, fired on a protest outside a school occupied by the U.S. soldiers.

      Residents of Fallujah said they had heard relatives of victims vow to avenge Wednesday's shootings.

      People in Fallujah generally have said they want the American troops to leave the city, 30 miles west of Baghdad.
      Resistance to American troops may be especially sharp in Fallujah, a city of 200,000 people, because it benefited
      particularly from Saddam Hussein's Baath regime, toppled last month by the U.S.-led coalition.

      The regime built chemical and other factories that generated jobs for Fallujah's workers and wealth for its businessmen.
      The city sent many of its young men to elite regime forces such as the Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard.
      An indication of the city's fealty to the old regime: Air Force Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart of Central Command said Monday's
      demonstration was apparently in celebration of Saddam's 66th birthday.

      U.S. military officials met Wednesday with local religious and clan leaders on the security situation in the town.
      "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.

      Al-Alwani and other Iraqis at the meeting also asked that U.S. troops be redeployed outside the city center. A U.S.
      paratrooper company has already left the school where they were staying that was the focus of Monday's protest.
      Residents told reporters they were troubled by soldiers who gaze on Fallujah women, and some believed the Americans'
      goggles or binoculars can "see" through curtains or clothing.

      In other developments around Iraq, heavily armed troops of the 4th Infantry Division raided a house late Wednesday in
      Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, and arrested a local Baath Party official accused of trying to run a "shadow regime" opposing
      coalition forces.

      U.S. troops refused to release the name of the official, citing security.

      Five Bradley Fighting Vehicles surrounded the two-story villa in a neighborhood formerly reserved for Baath Party
      members. One of the Bradleys slammed through a 10-foot wall surrounding the compound. About 40 infantrymen of the 1st
      Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment swarmed through the hole, fanning across the lawn and breaking down the wooden front

      Inside, the soldiers found three men - the suspect and his two sons - five women and four children. The three men were
      led from the house blindfolded and with their hands bound behind their backs.

      Col. Don Campbell, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said the suspect was "a prominent Baath
      Party member whom we suspect of trying to run a shadow regime."
      In Baghdad, the U.S.-led team charged with rebuilding Iraq's civil society has been screening government employees
      trying to return to work.

      The 150 people who showed up at the Planning Ministry on Wednesday faced tough scrutiny from the U.S. Office of
      Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which is struggling to weed out Baath Party officials and potential
      provocateurs from the ranks of a reconfigured civil service.

      Charles Heatly, a spokesman for the reconstruction office, said U.S. and British officials working with Iraqis had met
      with bureaucrats at most of the country's 23 ministries that operated under Saddam's regime. Many were eager to return
      to work.

      As plans for the new government proceeded apace, three top opposition leaders met in Baghdad to discuss how they would
      work together.

      Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani of
      the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan began a series of meetings Wednesday night, according to the INC's London office. It
      offered no details, citing security, but said the meetings would continue Thursday.

      Chalabi is a controversial figure, and many Iraqis are deeply suspicious of him because he lived outside the country for
      years and did not suffer alongside them under Saddam.
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