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Three U.S. Troops Injured in Iraq Attack

Three U.S. Troops Injured in Iraq Attack

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FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- A roadside bomb injured three American troops on Thursday near Fallujah, a day after the grisly killing and mutilation of four American contract workers in the city. The top U.S. administrator in Iraq said the deaths would not go unpunished.

In Ramadi, west of Fallujah, six Iraqi civilians died and four were wounded Wednesday evening in a car bombing at a market, said Lt. Col. Steve Murray, a coalition spokesman.

Iraqi police had not determined whether it was detonated by remote control or whether it was a suicide bomber within the car, Murray said.

Insurgents struck a U.S. convoy with a bomb just outside Fallujah on Thursday, wounding three Americans, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said. They were flown to a combat support hospital.

Also Thursday, two explosions near a U.S.-escorted fuel convoy in northern Baghdad wounded at least one Iraqi.

The attacks followed the ambush of the four American contractors in Fallujah on Wednesday. Frenzied mobs dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of the Americans through the streets and strung two of them up from a bridge.

Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division also died Wednesday when a bomb exploded under their M-113 armored personnel carrier in Malahma, northwest of Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

Police retrieved the remains of the four contractors on Wednesday night, wrapped them in blankets, and gave them to U.S. forces, said Iraqi police officer Lt. Salah Abdullah.

"We were shocked because our Islamic beliefs reject such behavior," he said referring to the abuse of the bodies.

Kimmitt said U.S. troops would hunt down those who carried out the killings.

"We will pacify that city," he said. "We will be back in Fallujah. It will be at the time and place of our choosing."

He said the military had tried to send Iraqi police to the scene during the attack.

"The event happened very, very rapidly, and by the accounts of the Iraqi police, by the time they got there, the situation was pretty well complete at that point," Kimmitt said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking to Germany's ZDF television, said the United States is "not going to withdraw, we're not going to be run out" of Iraq.

"America has the ability to stay, fight an enemy and defeat an enemy," he said. "We wish no soldier, no civilian, had been killed in this conflict. We also know sometimes to achieve a noble purpose, it does take the loss of life."

Powell said he believed there would be a new U.N. resolution on Iraq "as we move closer to the first of July," which he said may defuse Spain's threat to pull out peacekeepers by June 30 unless the United Nations takes political control.

The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, condemned the killings, as well as the combat deaths of five American soldiers on the same day, and said their deaths would not go unpunished.

"Yesterday's events in Fallujah are dramatic examples of the ongoing struggle between human dignity and barbarism," he said at a graduation ceremony for police cadets. "The acts we have seen were despicable and inexcusable. ... They violate the tenets of all religions, including Islam, as one of the foundations of civilized society."

Iraqi police manned roadside checkpoints in and around Fallujah on Thursday, but no U.S. troops could be seen in the city. Shops and schools were open.

"We will not let any foreigner enter Fallujah," said resident Sameer Sami. "Yesterday's attack is proof of how much we hate the Americans."

Another resident, Ahmed al-Dulaimi, said: "We wish that they would try to enter Fallujah so we'd let hell break lose."

Iraqi Interior Minister Nori al Badran vowed to send forces into Fallujah, but did not say when that would happen.

The mutiliation of the Americans was similar to the scene more than a decade ago in Somalia, when a mob dragged corpses of U.S.

soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation. The images were broadcast worldwide and became the subject of the book and movie "Black Hawk Down."

Arab television networks broadcast pictures from Fallujah at the top of their half-hourly news bulletins throughout the day Wednesday. Al Arabiya used a filter to blur the images of the bodies, but Al-Jazeera did not, showing a man using an iron bar to beat a corpse.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the slain contractors, all men, "were trying to make a difference and to help others."

The four worked for Blackwater Security Consulting of Moyock, N.C., which provides training and guard services to customers around the world. The company said it was providing security for the delivery of food in the Fallujah area under a government contract.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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