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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. tank commanders were warning their troops Monday that Iraqis in civilian vehicles could ram their tanks in potential suicide attacks and ordered them to destroy any suspicious vehicles heading toward them.
The warning came after some tank drivers reported seeing secondary explosions when tanks fired at cars attempting to ram them. The secondary explosions were believed to b bombs planted in the cars.
Just outside Baghdad, Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines were warned of possible attacks by suicide bombers in ambulances. They were told that if an ambulance came speeding toward them and refused to stop, to shoot it.
Marines also were warned about booby traps that may have been set by Saddam's Fedayeen.
Since two suicide attacks and an open threat by the Iraqi regime that such tactics would be "routine military policy," American troops have been wary of approaching civilians.
On Monday, U.S. Marines, who came under heavy fire just outside Baghdad, began firing two warning shots when approached by cars and pedestrians, then, if they failed to respond, opening fire to kill them.
In one case, an old man with a cane who appeared disoriented was shot and killed after he failed to respond to warning shots.
Two vehicles, a taxi and a van, also failed to heed warning shots and were attacked with automatic weapons until all movement inside stopped. No casualty figures were available for the shootings south of Baghdad.
The U.S. Army fears Republican Guard soldiers and paramilitary militants may have discarded their uniforms and will try to carry out suicide attacks disguised as civilians.
On Sunday, U.S. soldiers killed six Iraqi fighters wearing the head bands and clothes of Islamic suicide attackers on the southern outskirts of Baghdad.
On Thursday, two Iraqi women blew themselves up in an attack on U.S. forces, killing three American soldiers in western Iraq.
In the first suicide attack against American forces, a bomber posing as a taxi driver pulled up to a roadblock north of Najaf, waved to American troops for help, then blew up his vehicle up as they approached, killing four. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rewarded the attacker with a posthumous military promotion, two medals and a financial reward for his family.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)