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Attacks kill two GIs, two Iraqi civilians
Updated: 2004-03-22 09:34

Rebels killed two U.S. soldiers in a rocket attack in western Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday, and two Iraqi civilians died and one American soldier was injured in a rocket attack on U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Baghdad.

A 1st Infantry Division soldier also was killed Sunday in an apparent accident during a weapons firing exercise in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, Army spokeswoman Maj. Debra Stewart said. The incident was under investigation.

Iraqi medics tend to Azam Issam, 37, severly wounded in a mortar attack in the Mansour district, west Baghdad, Sunday March 21, 2004. Issam later died of his wounds. Two mortar rounds landed in the headquarters compound of the U.S.-led coalition Sunday. A third struck nearby, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding 10. [AP]
One of three rockets fired in Baghdad landed inside the coalition headquarters but caused no significant damage, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The injured soldier was hit by flying glass. Some staffers in the compound took cover in basements.

Two rockets landed outside the compound in the upscale neighborhood of Mansour, killing two Iraqi civilians and wounding five, the official said. However, the nearby Yarmouk Hospital said one person died and 10 were wounded. Residents said the rockets landed in a street, damaging several cars and shops.

"This is a terrorist act. There are no military targets in Mansour," said Raed Abdul Saheb, a doctor at the hospital.

Brief mortar and rocket attacks on the coalition headquarters are common, but the projectiles often miss, or hit nearby neighborhoods. The attack Sunday was unusual because it took place midmorning; most attacks happen at night, when assailants are better able to slip away.

The rocket attack in western Iraq occurred Saturday evening near the city of Fallujah, the U.S. official said. Five soldiers and a sailor were also wounded, besides the two soldiers killed, she said. Fallujah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, an area where support for Saddam Hussein was strongest and scene of frequent rebel attacks on U.S. troops.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, unidentified gunmen inside an ethnic Turkman youth center fired at Kurds waving flags to celebrate the Kurdish new year, killing one and wounding four others on Sunday, said Abdul-Salam Zangana, a security official at a hospital.

Ethnic tensions sometimes erupt in Kirkuk as Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen compete for control of the city, located in one of the world's richest oil-producing regions.

Also Sunday, about 50 people, many of them Arab journalists, demonstrated in Baghdad to protest the shooting deaths, allegedly by American soldiers, of an Iraqi cameraman and correspondent from the Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya. They gave a letter of protest to officials at the coalition headquarters.

The military has said it is investigating the shootings late Thursday. It reported the shooting death of an Iraqi at a checkpoint, and the circumstances of that death matched details reported by Al-Arabiya about the deaths of correspondent Ali al-Khatib and cameraman Ali Abdel-Aziz.

The attacks Sunday occurred a day after the first anniversary of the start of the war that ousted Saddam. Thousands of war protesters marched in Asian, American and European cities on Saturday, demanding the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops from Iraq.

But there were no street demonstrations, either for or against the war, in Iraq. Many Iraqis are preoccupied by the fragile security situation in their country, and even those who opposed Saddam are uncomfortable with the invasion and extended occupation of Iraq by foreign armies.

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