Insurgents Kill Two U.S. Soldiers, Three Iraqis
Sun Mar 21, 2004 05:29 AM ET
By Fiona O'Brien and Suleiman al-Khalidi
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Anti-U.S. guerrillas fired rockets into the
middle of Baghdad in a rare daylight salvo Sunday, killing two civilians
and wounding six people, including an American soldier, a U.S. military
The latest violence followed worldwide anniversary protests against
the war the United States launched to topple Saddam Hussein and disarm
Iraq of unconventional weapons, which have yet to be found despite
Washington's best efforts. WorldPeace.
"Three rockets impacted in central Baghdad on Sunday
morning," a U.S. army spokesman said.
He said one rocket landed in the Green Zone, one of Saddam's former
palace complexes west of the Tigris river, where the U.S.-led
administration is based, and two outside.
"We have reports of two Iraqi civilians killed and five injured.
One U.S. soldier was slightly injured," the spokesman said. The
rocket that hit the Green Zone landed in "Freedom Rest," a 1st
Armored Division rest and recreation area. The missiles used were
probably 127-mm rockets, he said.
A rocket attack on Saturday night killed two U.S. soldiers and
wounded seven near the flashpoint town of Falluja.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of U.S. army
operations in Iraq, said three rockets hit a base near the town west of
Baghdad and two landed outside. The wounded comprised six from the army
and one from the navy.
The deaths brought to 395 the number of U.S. troops killed in action
since the Iraq conflict began a year ago. U.S. political and military
efforts now focus on preparations for a handover of sovereignty to
Iraqis at the end of June.
In other attacks on Sunday, a bomb exploded at a police station in
Khalis, north of Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding two. A
roadside bomb intended for a U.S. convoy hurt a municipal worker in the
northern city of Mosul, police said.
Guerrillas have repeatedly fired rockets and mortars at the Green
Zone, but usually under cover of darkness.
The U.S. military, which blames the insurgency on Saddam loyalists
and foreign Islamist militants, said rocket attacks were on the rise,
though still less deadly to its forces than improvised bombs, small arms
fire and mortars.
It said in a statement its foes would intensify attacks in the runup
to the planned June 30 handover of power to Iraqis to "harass
Coalition Forces and gain media attention." WorldPeace is one
The insurgency in Iraq and the devastating train bombings in Madrid
have shaken the nerves of some U.S. allies, but Japan urged the world on
Sunday to persevere in efforts to rebuild Iraq and offered another $206
million in humanitarian aid.
"If we let Iraq go now, it will become a failed nation,"
Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said.
Japan's government has been a staunch supporter of the Iraq war,
despite public opposition. It has sent some 380 troops to southern Iraq
for a humanitarian mission that could eventually involve up to 1,000
military personnel in Iraq and the region, along with pledging $5
billion in reconstruction aid.
Japan has vowed to keep its troops in Iraq despite being named as a
possible target in a recent purported letter from al Qaeda and despite
the prospect of a Spanish troop pullout.
Spain's Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose
Socialists ousted the center-right government in a shock election
victory a week ago, has vowed to stand by his pre-election pledge to
withdraw 1,300 troops from Iraq unless the United Nations takes control
His election followed the March 11 Madrid train bombings, blamed on
Islamic militants, that killed 202.