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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-304530 Iraq / Attacks (L-UPD)









///// UPDATES CR 2-304523 /////

INTRO: Unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U-S military ambulance about 35-kilometers south of Baghdad (Thursday), killing one soldier and wounding two others. As V-O-A's Sonja Pace reports from Baghdad, the incident is the latest in a series of attacks against U-S forces in Iraq.

TEXT: The attack on the ambulance occurred around mid-day local time, south of Baghdad in the area of al-Iskandariya.

There have been daily attacks against American soldiers or coalition offices in recent weeks. A U-S soldier was killed and another injured by sniper fire while guarding a gas distribution center on Wednesday. More than 40 U-S troops have been killed in such attacks since May first.

In another incident this week, U-S military officials say a mortar attack on a coalition-run office north of Baghdad killed one Iraqi and injured 12 others. Earlier this week, gunmen fired at the mayor's office and courthouse in the town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad and at a police station in Khaldiyah.

The coalition blames elements loyal to Saddam Hussein and a major nationwide operation is under way to root out these armed groups.

Military officials said Wednesday they had captured the number-four man on the U-S most wanted list, Saddam Hussein's top aide and bodyguard, Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti. Officials believe he may know the fate or possible whereabouts of the deposed Iraqi leader.

While the coalition says remaining elements of the old regime are behind the attacks, some Iraqis say public anger is fueling resentment against the American troops.

Iraqis accuse U-S forces of heavy-handed tactics in their search for banned weapons and suspected Saddam loyalists.

Meanwhile, anger has risen because U-S troops shot and killed two Iraqis during a demonstration by former soldiers in Baghdad on Wednesday. On Thursday, angry mourners fired Kalashnikov rifles into the air and denounced the United Stated during funeral processions for the two men killed. (SIGNED)


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