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Iraqi Guerrillas Attack U.S. Patrol

Iraqi Guerrillas Attack U.S. Patrol

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MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- Insurgents attacked a U.S. military patrol in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing one soldier and wounding two, the U.S. military said. A bomb also was detonated on a railway, derailing half the carriages on a freight train but causing no injuries.

Guerrillas set off a roadside bomb as an American convoy passed through the center of Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, at around midday, Master Sgt. Kelly Tyler said.

"I heard an explosion and came running toward the site of the attack and saw three soldiers, one of them covered with blood," said Bahaa Hussein, a student who lives in the neighborhood.

Hussein said Iraqi policemen rushed out of a police station about 200 yards from the site of the explosion and cordoned off the area until U.S. troops arrived. Mosul is the largest city in the north. The slain and wounded soldiers were all from the U.S. 101st Airborne Division.

In the capital, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq said such attacks should be expected to rise as the June 30 deadline for a transfer of authority from coalition officials to a new Iraqi government approaches.

"We're prepared for that ... but I think we ought to expect that we'll have some periods of increased violence," Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said at a news conference.

Sanchez also said the hunt for Saddam Hussein continues, but offered no indication that U.S. forces were getting closer to the deposed dictator.

"It's a needle in a haystack. Clearly we haven't found the right haystack. We're all focused on finding that needle," he said. "We are moving under the assumption that he is still in the country, that he is still operating."

But Sanchez said finding Saddam won't end the insurgency.

"The killing or capturing of Saddam Hussein will have an impact on the level of violence, but it will not end it," he said.

Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council gave different versions of progress on a statute that would establish a war-crimes tribunal that could try Saddam and his top aides.

One member of the council, Mahmoud Othman, said council members had reached agreement on the statute and planned to send it to the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, on Monday for his signature. But another, Yonadam Kanna, said negotiations were continuing.

On Saturday evening near the town of Samarra, an explosive device derailed eight of 20 carriages on a train heading from Baghdad to Mosul, said Abdel-Nasser Abdel-Rahman, a railway official. No injuries were reported, he said.

Train service between the capital and Mosul will be disrupted for five days, Abdel-Rahman said. On Sunday, Iraqi police and two American tanks were at the scene. Bottles of water, apparently part of the train's cargo, were scattered around the derailed carriages.

"We're conducting our investigation, but we think that remnants of the former regime are behind the attack," policeman Ahmed Waleed said.

The attack occurred on the northern outskirts of Samarra, a town where guerrillas engaged in heavy fighting a week ago with U.S. soldiers who were delivering new Iraqi currency to banks.

On Nov. 15, an explosion derailed a train between Samarra and Tikrit, 120 miles north of the capital, Baghdad. On Oct. 30, insurgents near Fallujah used rocket-propelled grenades to blast a freight train carrying supplies for the U.S. military, derailing several cars. There were no injuries in either incident.

Also Saturday in Mosul, three gunmen shot to death an Iraqi policeman on his way to work. The victim was a 24-year-old recent graduate of a police academy that has received support and guidance from coalition forces.

Guerrillas often have targeted Iraqi police and other authorities, accusing them of collaborating with the U.S.-led occupation.

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

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