The occupying US forces released photographs of the bodies of the former dictator’s two sons in a bid to quell Iraqi skepticism they were dead.

 

The pictures were also released in the hope that confirmation of their deaths would demoralize guerilla fighters mounting daily attacks on US soldiers.

 

"The death of Qusay and Uday has been welcomed by the Iraqi people because they were a symbol of all the oppression which was imposed on the people of Iraq for decades," , Adnan Pachachi, a member of Iraq’s fledgling governing council told reporters in London this morning. 

 

Four US Soldiers Dead

 

Still, at least four US soldiers were killed today and an undisclosed number injured in separate incidents around the war-ravaged country.

 

Four US troops and two Iraqis, believed to be members of the Iraqi resistance, were killed in encounters early this morning.

 

US military spokesman Corporal Todd Pruden said the soldiers were killed in northern Iraq when troops from the 101st Airborne Division came under small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

 

The US 101st Airborne Division specialises in tracking members of the former Iraq government. 

 

Pruden did not specify where or at what time the attack took place.

 

Continued harassment

 

This morning’s deaths took the number of american soldiers killed by Iraqi resistance fighters to 45 since US President George Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq over on 1 May.

 

In a separate incident, a US soldier was wounded in southern Baghdad when a military vehicle in which he was travelling came under attack.

 

Occupation officials refused to say what happened in the incident, though an AFP correspondent reported a lightly armoured Humvee vehicle badly charred and the front mangled from an explosion.

 

Several residents of the area said an unidentified assailant fired the RPG from an alleyway at the passing convoy at about 4:10 pm local time.

 

They noted black stains on the wall of the alley, saying the marks were produced when the rocket fired.

  

RPG attacks

 

RPG’s were also fired by unknown attackers at a number of US military vehicles in the al-Dawra district, south of the capital city.  The vehicles were hit by two rockets, injuring an unspecified number of soldiers.

 

Helicopter gunships were seen flying over the area in search of the assailants.

 

In a further sign that Iraqi resistance fighters will continue harassing US troops, footage of a group of masked men with automatic rifles claiming to be members of Uday's notorious Saddam Fedayeen militia, was sent to Dubai-based Al Arabiya television.

 

They vowed to press on with a jihad, or holy war, against U.S. forces.

   

"We pledge to you Iraqi people that we will continue in the jihad against the infidels. The killing of Uday and Qusay will be avenged," one said. Their deaths "will not decrease attacks against the Americans but rather increase them".

 

At least 80 US soldiers have died in what the occupation authority classifies as non-combat incidents. Some of these deaths are suspected suicides, unidentified US officials have said.