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U.S. Soldier Killed; New Attack Reported in Fallujah

U.S. Soldier Killed; New Attack Reported in Fallujah

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A U.S. soldier was killed Friday in northern Iraq, and 13 troops were wounded in a mortar attack north of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

Witnesses also reported that a roadside bomb wounded several other troops Friday in Fallujah in the sixth attack by insurgents there in as many days.

The soldier, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, was killed by small arms fire before dawn Friday in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. Central Command said. No further details were released, and the name was withheld pending notification of kin.

The death brings to 106 the number of American soldiers killed by hostile fire since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1.

U.S. officials also said 13 soldiers, from the 4th Infantry Division, were wounded Thursday night when a mortar round struck at hangar at Camp War Horse near Baqouba, about 40 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Three were seriously wounded and evacuated but the others were treated at the local aid station, the command said. U.S. troops fired back and pursued the attackers, the command said, but there was no word on any insurgent casualties.

In a separate incident, the 4th Infantry Division also said two Iraqis were killed after a patrol of its 2nd Brigade was attacked near Baqouba by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire at 10 p.m. Thursday. The Americans pursued the attackers into a house and killed the pair, it said.

Also Thursday, U.S. troops detained six men digging by a roadside near Beiji, 120 miles north of Baghdad, with the intention to place makeshift bombs there, according to the 4th Division.

In Baghdad, at least two Iraqis were killed and seven wounded when rockets fell on the Ad-Doura neighborhood of the capital, residents said. The rockets smashed into several stalls in the Ad-Doura market and also caused slight damage to the Ad-Doura power plant located about 200 yards away.

"About 10 p.m. we heard sound of explosions," said Odai Abdul Rahman, a baker. "We came out of the bakery and saw some destroyed shacks and injured people lying on the ground."

The U.S. military command in Baghdad had no comment about the attack in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad. However, Iraqi witnesses said it occurred Friday morning near a bridge at the western end of the city.

The witnesses said three injured U.S. soldiers were evacuated after American soldiers sprayed the area with gunfire. After the attack, troops detained several Iraqi civilians, including one who was dragged from his vehicle and punched repeatedly in the kidney as he fell to the ground.

"Immediately after the attack, which damaged a Humvee, troops fired randomly and two helicopters hovered overhead," said one witness, Youssef Mohammed. "The troops arrested five shopkeepers who were in their shops close to the location of the blast."

It was the sixth straight day of attacks against American forces in the restive city since gunners blasted a disabled ammunition truck there Sunday, causing no casualties but setting off thunderous explosions.

An American paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division was killed by a bomb the following day. Another soldier was wounded Thursday by a homemade explosive.

Fallujah is located in an arc of resistance that also extends north of Baghdad. The area is dominated by Sunni Muslims, the minority community from which ousted leader Saddam Hussein drew most of his support.

Lt. Col. George Krivo, the U.S. command spokesman, said attacks on coalition forces have averaged about 26 a day over the past two weeks. About three-quarters of the attacks have occurred in an arc stretching from the west through Baghdad to the region north of the capital.

The attacks came as representatives of 77 nations gathered Friday in Spain to wrap up a two-day conference to raise money for Iraqi reconstruction. U.S. and Iraqi officials pleaded for billions to rebuild the nation.

The violence, six months after a U.S.-led force toppled Saddam's regime, has raised concern about prospects for a quick revival of Iraq's economy, despite the country's vast petroleum reserves.

After the $20 billion package now before the U.S. Congress, Japan offered the biggest pledge: $1.5 billion in grants for 2004 and 3.5 billion in loans for 2005-2007, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said.

Several other countries promised multimillion dollar promises, but France and Germany -- two leading opponents of the U.S.-led war -- were withholding new aid to register their disapproval of the U.S. blueprint for restoring Iraqi sovereignty.

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

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