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RAMADI, Iraq (AP) -- U.S.-led civil administrators announced the creation of a new Iraqi army Monday and said recruitment will begin next week, hoping to contain Iraqi anger over desperate unemployment and to curb a rash of attacks against U.S. forces.
The insurgents' latest attacks included rocket propelled grenades fired at U.S. Army patrols in the western towns of Khaldiyah and Habaniyah, and an ambush in Ramadi that involved a 12-year-old girl, the military said Monday. No one was injured.
In Baghdad, the first U.S. Senate delegation to visit Iraq cautioned that Americans should expect their forces to remain in Iraq for as long as five years.
"I don't think the American people fully appreciate just how long we are going to be committed here and what the overall cost will be," said Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., after meeting the head of the civil administration, L. Paul Bremer.
"I predict as much as five years," added Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the ranking Democrat on the committee, said: "We can't afford to fail the Iraqi people or ourselves." Whatever happens in Iraq will have an impact on the entire region, he said.
Meanwhile, U.S. experts were trying to identify the remains of those killed when coalition air and ground forces attacked a convoy of Iraqi leaders believed trying to escape to Syria, officials in Washington said.
Officials said they had no reason yet to believe that ousted leader Saddam Hussein or his sons Odai or Qusai were among the fugitives, however.
DNA tests are being conducted on the remains found at the site in western Iraq, near the Syrian border, as first reported in The Observer of London. Special operations forces attacked the three-vehicle convoy last Wednesday, working on information from previously captured leaders, the officials said.
Saddam and his sons are the top three on the U.S. list of most-wanted officials in Iraq, and coalition officials say the lack of evidence about their fate is fueling resistance to the occupation within Iraq.
On Sunday, Iraq made its first foray back into the international oil market since the war, with the loading of 1 million barrels of crude onto a Turkish tanker at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
But sabotage and looting of the 600-mile pipeline from the northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk to Ceyhan delayed the flow of freshly pumped oil -- the key to reconstructing an economy devastated by sanctions and war. Pumping was supposed to have begun Sunday.
Sabotage was blamed for a massive fire in a gas pipeline about 94 miles west of Baghdad on Saturday, and the al-Jazeera satellite television station reported another pipeline explosion near the Syrian border on Sunday. That report could not immediately be confirmed, and it was not clear if the second fire was the result of sabotage.
Information Radio, operated by the U.S.-led coalition, broadcast an appeal Monday for Iraqis to help police the pipeline and report the location of looted equipment. It said Iraq was losing $50 million a week needed for the nation's reconstruction due to delays caused by sabotage and theft.
The civil administration moved to stem an angry movement among former Iraqi army soldiers who lost their livelihood when the army was dismantled on May 23. U.S. troops killed two ex-servicemen last Wednesday when a soldiers' demonstration turned violent.
"I am pleased to announce this first step in creating an armed force that will be professional, nonpolitical, militarily effective and truly representative of the country," said Walter Slocombe, a senior adviser for security and defense for the administration.
Slocombe said an initial division of 12,000 men will be ready within a year and will grow to 40,000 within three years -- still just a fraction of the Saddam's military force of 400,000. Slocombe said up to 250,000 ex-soldiers will be eligible for support payments of $50 to $150 per month from the administration.
In Ramadi, a patrol of two tanks and four Humvees came under small-arms fire on Sunday, and the patrol saw a young girl running away with an AK-47 assault rifle, said Capt. Burris Wollsieffer, of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The bullets landed harmlessly in the dirt around the vehicles, he told The Associated Press on Monday.
The troops followed the girl home and found the rifle wrapped in a red dress propped in a corner. Three men in the household were taken for interrogation, but the troops allowed the girl to remain at home when they learned her age. They also seized $1,500 in cash and $1,000 in Iraqi dinars, the officer said.
None of the troops saw who fired the weapon, although they found no other suspects in the area other than the young girl.
"It's just weird. It's totally unconventional," said Wollsieffer, when asked about the rising number of ambushes on his forces in Ramadi, a town where resistance to the occupation has been high. "It's guerrilla warfare."
Two senior army officers met Monday with a prominent Islamic cleric, Abdullah al-Annay, who preaches in two Ramadi mosques, to ask him to tone down his anti-American sermons, Wollsieffer said.
"If he keeps this kind of speech going, they are just going to attack us more and more," he said. Wollsieffer's regiment has lost 10 men -- more than half the 18 men reported killed in combat -- since May 1 when major fighting was declared over.
The latest casualty came Sunday, when a grenade exploded into a military vehicle south of Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding another from the 1st Armored Division.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)