4 US Soldiers Killed in Iraq
02 May 2004, 11:41 UTC
U.S. military officials in Iraq say four American soldiers have been killed in two separate clashes.
An attack in northwest Baghdad early Sunday killed two U.S. soldiers. At least two members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps fighting alongside the Americans also were hit by fire.
In southern Iraq, near the city of Amara, two U.S. soldiers died late Saturday when their convoy was hit by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.
In Fallujah, where thousands of U.S. Marines have been arrayed against Iraqi insurgents, hundreds of Iraqis are now patrolling the streets under an agreement between U.S. military officials and an Iraqi general from Saddam Hussein's army former Iraqi general now in charge of the local militia.
U.S. Marines gathered outside Fallujah say they are prepared to go back into the city if violence breaks out again.
A general with the U.S. Marine force says the new Iraqi militia will include 1,100 fighters by mid-week. Many of the Iraqis recruited to support the U.S.-led coalition are former soldiers in Saddam Hussein's army.
General James Conway, who heads American forces in the Fallujah area, says the Iraqis patrolling the town understand the U.S. military view that insurgents in the city must be killed or captured, and have not flinched from that task. Many Iraqis celebrated in the streets of Fallujah as the militia moved in, and U.S. forces moved back from many of their positions.
The Iraqis are under the command of Jasim Mohammed Saleh, who was one of Saddam's generals.
A U.S. Army Brigadier General, Mark Kimmitt, says General Saleh and members of his Iraqi forces are still undergoing background checks.
General Conway says most members of the new Iraqi militia may not be "squeaky clean" (have a spotless record). However, he says they are "pretty clean," and he adds that anyone with "blood on [his] hands" will be barred from the new militia.
Reports in London Sunday say about 4,000 additional British troops are expected to go to Iraq in the coming weeks. They are to be deployed around Najaf, taking over from 1,300 Spanish troops who are being withdrawn from Iraq.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.
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