U.S. troops wounded in Iraq attacks
- U.S. troops wounded in Iraq attacks
By Daniel Trotta
July 3, 2003
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Seven American soldiers have been wounded in two
separate attacks on occupation forces in Iraq, a day after U.S.
President George W. Bush said there were enough U.S. troops in Iraq
to deal with the militants.
In a sign the guerrilla-style attacks were growing increasingly bold,
assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade on a U.S. Humvee vehicle
on a major street in central Baghdad shortly after 10 a.m. (7:00 a.m.
British time on Thursday), witnesses said.
Hospital sources said one Iraqi passer-by had been killed and 11
The American soldier was given first aid by his comrades on the scene
while the Iraqi casualties were taken to hospital. Iraqis then set
the damaged Humvee ablaze, hurling stones and, in a particularly Arab
insult, threw shoes at the vehicle.
The other attack took place in the town of Ramadi, some 100 km (60
miles) west of Baghdad, where six U.S. soldiers were wounded when an
explosion hit their convoy of two Humvees, the military said in a
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to a combat hospital.
At least 23 U.S. troops have been killed by hostile fire since Bush
declared major combat in Iraq to be over on May 1. U.S. officials
blame them on former intelligence officers and Iraqi army elements
loyal to ousted President Saddam Hussein.
The hit-and-run attacks, which typically involve grenades or
explosives on U.S. convoys, have grown more frequent in recent weeks,
and Bush said the roughly 150,000 troops in Iraq were up to the
"There are some who feel like conditions are such that they can
attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House on
Wednesday. "My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary
to deal with the situation."
"There's people there that (would) like to run us out of there,
create the conditions where we get nervous and decide to leave. We're
not going to get nervous," Bush said.
Bush's comments drew fire from his political rivals in the United
States. Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardt said Bush
should drop the macho rhetoric and focus on a long-term security plan
The attack in Ramadi occurred in an area where occupation forces have
encountered fierce resistance, particularly in the nearby town of
Falluja, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
Tension in Falluja became more inflamed when a blast on Monday
damaged the town's mosque, killing nine people including the mosque's
imam or prayer leader, local residents said.
The people of Falluja insist the mosque was attacked by a U.S.
airstrike while the Americans say the explosion came from inside an
adjacent building where a bomb-making class was being held.
The 226,000 predominantly U.S. and British troops in Iraq and
neighbouring countries are due to get reinforcements for peace-
keeping duties from September 1.
Poland sent an advance party of 250 troops to the Gulf on Wednesday
to pave the way for the 9,200-strong multinational force under its
command, covering a stretch of Iraqi territory between Britain's
southern zone and the U.S.-controlled north.
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