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Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Pipeline

Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Pipeline

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A bomb exploded Thursday near a pipeline in northern Iraq, killing two Iraqi Civil Defense Corps members and wounding 10 others, U.S. officials said. They did not know if the pipeline was damaged.

In Baghdad, Iraqi police found a car packed with explosives and arrested a Syrian who confessed to having rigged it, according to Iraqi officials. Another bomb found near the same location was detonated safely.

The incidents occurred as international representatives gathered in Madrid, Spain, for a conference to raise money for Iraqi reconstruction. U.S. and Iraqi officials pleaded for billions to rebuild the nation.

Despite the approval last week of a new U.N. resolution setting out Iraq's future course, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged that lingering divisions over Washington's role in running the country might deter some donors.

The explosion in the north occurred south of Qayarrah, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, U.S. officials said. The Iraqi guards were helping secure pipelines that have been the target of sabotage frequently.

Sabotage to pipelines and the decayed state of Iraqi's infrastructure have slowed efforts to revive the country's giant oil industry, considered the key to rebuilding the economy.

In the Iraqi capital, police found the explosives in a Toyota in the Ad-Doura district after receiving a tip from an informant. Iraqi policeman Sahir Shakr said the driver was arrested. The suspect, believed to be in his early 20s, told police he had been given money to plant the explosives, according to 2nd Lt. Mustafa al-Obeidi.

The U.S. military press office said it had no details about the incident.

A second bomb fashioned out of an artillery or tank shell was found later outside the nearby An-Nahada secondary school and destroyed by U.S. troops.

In Mosul, in the north, troops from the 101st Airborne Division opened fire at four Iraqis who attacked one of their compounds with rocket-propelled grenades on Thursday. Two of the Iraqis were killed and a third wounded, the military said. The fourth escaped. There were no casualties among U.S. forces.

American soldiers have been facing increasing guerrilla-style attacks with roadside bombs, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

U.S. officials have alleged that fighters have been moving in from neighboring Syria and Iran to join Saddam Hussein loyalists who are attacking coalition troops.

Fears of car bombings have also increased in the Iraqi capital following three explosions this month.

On Oct. 14, a suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle outside the Turkish Embassy, killing the driver and a bystander and wounding at least 13. Two days earlier, a suicide car bombing near the Baghdad Hotel left eight people dead and at least 32 wounded.

A suicide bomber drove his Oldsmobile into a police station in Baghdad's Sadr City district Oct. 9, killing himself and nine other people.

A truck bomber struck at the headquarters of the United Nations at the Canal Hotel on Aug. 19, killing 23 people, including the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. On Aug. 29, a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf, killing more than 85 people including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.

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

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