US Iraq casualties evoke concern

As further attacks on occupation forces took place on Saturday, a new poll showed that the majority of Americans are concerned over the level of US casualties in Iraq.

    US soldiers on the lookout for attackers in al-Ramadi

    Fifty-two percent of respondents to a Washington Post-ABC poll published on Saturday said the number of casualties was unacceptable, while 44 percent found them acceptable and three percent had no opinion.

    At least 31 US soldiers have been killed in guerrilla attacks in Iraq since 1 May, when the United States declared an end to major combat operations.

    Continued attacks

    A US soldier died of gun shot wounds in a "non-combat" incident north of Baghdad, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

    Neither the date nor time of the incident was provided.

    Moreover, at least three US soldiers and three Iraqi civilians were wounded in an attack on a US base and army convoy north of Baghdad, according to US military sources. 

    No Further details on the attack were immediately available.

    Separately, an explosive device blew up and lightly wounded one US soldier early Saturday at the Abu Gharib prison west of Baghdad, a US military spokesman said.
     
    It was not clear what type of explosive was thrown during the attack at 6:30 am (0230 GMT), said Sergeant Gustavo Leigh at the site of the explosion.
     
    The blast ripped away a section of the prison's perimeter wall and tore a hole in the ground. US soldiers had arrested two people and were searching the area, Leigh said. 
     

    Tension high in al-Anbar

    Explosions in al-Ramadi, west of 
    Baghdad.

    Loud explosions were heard north of al-Ramadi in al-Anbar province 100 km west of Baghdad, according to Aljazeera’s correspondent in the area. No casualties were reported.

    Tensions remain high in the area after US troops came under a mortar attack on Thursday but sustained no casualties or material damage.

    Our correspondent said US troops detained 21 Iraqis in the village of Orsan on the outskirts of al-Ramadi after they heard gun shots at a local wedding celebration and were tipped off that a person called Saddam was at the party.

    Among the detainees was the bridegroom.

    Firing gun shots in the air is a common practice at Arab weddings. 

    The US military has blamed the attacks in the mostly Sunni Muslim province of al-Anbar on “unorganised” groups loyal to the previous regime of Saddam Hussein.

    In Fallujah, a flashpoint town in al-Anbar, a council of local chieftains called for “resisting the US occupation by all means available”, Aljazeera reported.

    The council urged citizens to support the local police forces in the absence of an Iraqi government.

    Police in Fallujah, 50 km west of Baghdad, complained on Saturday about US troops manning one of their stations in the city saying it subjects them to attacks. 

    US forces stationed in Fallujah said they planned to scale back their military presence there, but said that any redeployment would be gradual.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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