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Brief Firefight Breaks Out Amid Celebration

Brief Firefight Breaks Out Amid Celebration

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(Baghdad, Iraq-AP) -- A brief -- but dramatic -- firefight for a Marine unit on the northeast edge of Baghdad. The Marines were heading down a road amid a large crowd of celebrating Iraqi civilians today when a car sped to the scene and people inside apparently started opening fire.

An Associated Press reporter embedded with the unit says the Marines fired back. The gunshots died down after just a few seconds, and the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Correspondent Ross Simpson says as he passed the vehicle, he saw three people inside, burning to death. He describes it as a "funeral pyre." The crowd of several hundred Iraqi civilians -- including women and children -- immediately fled as the shots rang out. It doesn't appear that the U-S troops suffered any casualties.

Simpson says the incident is another example of the apparently changing face of the war. U-S troops are increasingly facing what he describes as "shadows" shooting from rooftops or doorways -- instead of uniformed groups of Iraqi soldiers.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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