U.S. forces in Iraq are reporting more ambushes as American troops search towns and villages near Baghdad to root out resistance from loyalists of the ousted Iraqi regime.
U.S. Central Command says assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an American military convoy near Al Mushahidah, north of Baghdad Sunday, but instead hit a civilian bus that was passing the convoy. Central Command says the number of casualties on the bus is not known. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad says several American soldiers were wounded in the attack and in a separate ambush where rocket-propelled grenades were fired at a U.S. military convoy near Ad Dujayl, also north of Baghdad.
American forces are in the second day of a sweep for Baath Party loyalists and other guerrillas who have launched a series of deadly attacks against U.S. forces since the start of May.
The U.S. military says the operation, named Desert Scorpion, is aimed at "defeating remaining pockets of resistance seeking to delay the transition to a peaceful and stable Iraq." It says the operation is designed to "identify and defeat selected Ba'ath party loyalists, terrorist organizations and criminal elements," while at the same time delivering humanitarian aid.
On the first day of the sweep Sunday, U.S. troops arrested nine people in the town of Khaldiyah and seized weapons and explosives.
U.S. soldiers, backed by helicopters and tanks, raided homes in Fallujah, a former stronghold of Saddam Hussein, searching for illegal weapons and hostile forces. U.S. troops later sent truckloads of food, fresh water, school supplies and toys to Fallujah.