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Bomb Injures U.S. Soldier in Mosul

Bomb Injures U.S. Soldier in Mosul

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MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- Gunmen ambushed U.S. soldiers on patrol with a roadside bomb then opened fire on them in Mosul on Monday, wounding one, as fears grew that the anti-coalition insurgency was spreading north a day after two American soldiers were killed here and their bodies mauled.

In the capital Baghdad, the Iraqi Governing Council pledged renewed efforts to fight "terrorism" and warned Middle Eastern broadcasters to avoid reports that incite violence.

Near the northern city of Kirkuk, an oil pipeline was on fire Monday. Adel al-Qazzaz, manager of the Northern Oil Company, said he believed the cause was sabotage. Insurgents have repeatedly targeted pipelines, and sabotage of oil infrastructure has become a major problem for the U.S.-run coalition.

In the Mosul attack, gunmen activated a roadside bomb and opened fire on the convoy, wounding a soldier, the military said. The Americans responded with a barrage of fire, a witness said.

Residents said U.S. troops immediately cordoned the area in Hay al-Dobat neighborhood. "I heard a strong explosion saw the Americans randomly shooting in all directions," said Omar Hamed.

Also Monday, an Iraqi Sunni Muslim religious leader called on U.S. forces and resistance groups to observe a one-week cease-fire to allow the Iraqis to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, media reports said.

Adnan al-Duleimi, the head of Iraq's Sunni endowments, appealed to guerrillas to cease operations for a week and also called coalition troops to stop raiding houses and chasing locals. His comments were broadcast by Arab satellite channels.

But there were fears that the insurgency was spreading northward from its original stronghold in the so-called Sunni Triangle, located in central Iraq north and west of Baghdad.

On Sunday, gunmen in Mosul shot two American soldiers driving through the center of this city 250 miles north of Baghdad, sending their vehicle crashing into a wall. About a dozen swarming teenagers dragged the men from the wreckage and beat them with concrete blocks, witnesses said.

"One of the soldiers was shot under the chin and the bullet came out of his head. I saw the hole in his helmet. The other was shot in the throat," said Bahaa Jassim. Earlier reports said the soldiers' throats had been slit. Some people looted the vehicle of weapons, CDs and a backpack, Jassim said.

The frenzy recalled the October 1993 scene in Somalia, when people dragged the bodies of U.S. soldiers killed in fighting with warlords through the streets.

In Baghdad, the current head of the Governing Council, Jalal Talabani, said the Iraqi administration will step up efforts to combat the insurgency and warned Middle Eastern media to avoid inciting violence.

"I would like to you know that we are serious in fighting terrorism and the Governing Council will exert more efforts," Talabani said. "We will have an active political, media and military role against terrorism."

The savagery of the weekend attack against the two soldiers was unusual for Mosul, once touted as a success story in sharp contrast to the anti-American violence seen in areas of the Sunni Triangle.

Members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said U.S. troops and Iraqi police raided one of their offices in Mosul about 10:00 a.m. A party member, Salem Hussein, said the Americans arrested two PUK guards and confiscated four Kalashnikov rifles, a television set, a computer, a printer, a satellite receiver and a small amount of cash.

U.S. military officials said that someone opened fire on Iraqi police and ran into a PUK building but had no other details.

In recent weeks, attacks against U.S. troops and their Iraqi allies -- such as policemen and politicians working for the interim Iraqi administration -- have increased in the region surrounding Mosul.

In Kirkuk, 150 miles north of Baghdad, three American civilian contractors from the U.S. firm Kellogg Brown & Root were injured Sunday when a bomb exploded at an oil compound.

KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, also has a significant presence at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, which was rocketed by insurgents Friday, wounding one civilian. In Baqouba, just north of Baghdad, insurgents detonated a roadside bomb as a 4th Infantry Division convoy passed, killing one soldier and wounding two others, the military said Sunday.

In Latifiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, gunmen killed the Iraqi mayor and his bodyguard and driver, American and Iraqi officials said.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition said it had grounded commercial flights after the military confirmed that a missile struck a DHL cargo plane that landed Saturday at Baghdad International Airport with its wing aflame.

The plane was the first civilian airliner hit by insurgents, who have shot down several military helicopters with shoulder-fired rockets. DHL and Royal Jordanian, the only commercial passenger airline flying into Baghdad, immediately suspended flights.

In Canberra, the Care Australia aid agency said Monday it was considering its future in Iraq following a weekend attack on its Baghdad office. Chief executive Robert Glasser said three rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the office, causing minor damage but no injuries.

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

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