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Two U.S. soldiers killed, four wounded in Iraq

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Gunmen ambushed a U.S. military convoy in northern Iraq on Monday, killing an American soldier and wounding another. Separately, another U.S. soldier was killed and three were injured when a Humvee ran over a land mine in an apparent attack, the military said.

It was one of the most violent days for U.S. troops since the war ended last month.

In the north, unidentified attackers opened fire on an eight-vehicle convoy on a resupply mission to a base near the town of Hadithah, about 120 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

The command said the ambush happened at 6:15 a.m. and that the troops belonged to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is based at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo.

The assailants used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack, the latest of several on coalition forces this month. The statement said helicopters were immediately dispatched to the area to find the gunmen.

In the well-off Baghdad neighborhood of Yarmouk, witnesses said they heard several explosions and a 15-minute burst of gunfire along the road to the airport, west of the capital.

A U.S. soldier near the scene said it was an ambush and that at least one Humvee was destroyed.

Another soldier, who also refused to give his name, said it appeared the Humvee hit a land mine and four soldiers were wounded. Troops blocked the highway, keeping reporters from the scene and causing a traffic jam.

A third soldier speaking on condition of anonymity said three soldiers suffered burn injuries. A witness who lives near the scene said a fourth soldier was injured shortly afterward when ammunition in the Humvee exploded. The witness gave only his first name, Adel.

An Associated Press reporter saw the Humvee, still burning, more than 90 minutes after the attack. It was unclear whether the mine had been placed there to directly target Americans.

The road that connects Baghdad International Airport with the city is frequently used by U.S. troops, many of whom are based at the airport. At least one other reported attack has taken place on that road in recent weeks.

U.S. Central Command later issued a statement saying a U.S. soldier was killed and three injured when a Humvee ran over a land mine or unexploded ordnance at about 5 p.m. in an apparently hostile act. Other patrols in the area came to help the soldiers.

"The incident ... appears to be a result of hostile action, though the specific circumstances of the incident are unconfirmed," the military said in a statement.

The names of all the soldiers were withheld pending notification of their families.

Meanwhile, in Baqubah, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, U.S. soldiers shot and killed a woman who tried to approach them carrying two hand grenades. The shooting took place immediately after unknown attackers threw handheld explosives at U.S. soldiers guarding a former base of the pro-Iranian Badr Corps in the town, Central Command said.

"Squad members verbally warned her several more times, but she continued to advance towards them. When she refused, the squad shot her several times. She fell to the ground, dropping one grenade, and continued to crawl towards them," the statement said. "The squad fired again, killing her."

Military officials also said a U.S. soldier was killed and another injured in southern Iraq when a munitions dump they were guarding exploded on Sunday morning.

The blast, which happened near the town of Diwaniyah, 95 miles south of Baghdad, was not thought to be a result of hostile action, U.S. Central Command said Monday in a statement.

The injured soldier was transported to a field hospital, where he underwent surgery, the statement said. Their names were also withheld.

A number of U.S. servicemen have been killed since the end of the fighting last month, mostly in road accidents and ammunition explosions.


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