Our correspondent, quoting eyewitnesses, reported that one US tank was totally damaged when an explosive device detonated on the main road in al-Habbaniya area.

 

Al-Habbaniya is to the west of the flashpoint town of Ramadi, which is west of Baghdad. It was not immediately clear if the US suffered any casualties.

 

In another attack, a US patrol was hit by an explosive device in al-Hashimiya area, east of Baquba city. One US military vehicle was damaged, eyewitnesses told Aljazeera.

 

Civilians killed

 

In the third attack, a US position in the northern town of Hawija, near Kirkuk, came under mortar attack at dawn and a fire broke out inside the building, but it was not immediately clear if there were casualties, witnesses said.

  

"I was asleep on the roof of my building when I heard two explosions and I saw flames bursting from the technical institute where US troops are positioned," said resident Usama Jumaa Fayad.

  

He said the building was hit by two mortar rounds. US forces were not immediately available to confirm the report.

 

"I was asleep on the roof of my building when I heard two explosions and I saw flames bursting from the technical institute where US troops are positioned"
Osama Jumaa Fayad,
resident

Ali Ahmad Jaburi, who also heard the explosions, said the attack was "apparently organised and planned" because it came a day after the reported death of a child in Hawija, 50km west of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

  

Hawija's hospital director, Dr Jasim Abd Allah Jiburi, accused US troops  of shooting on hundreds of demonstrators who pelted them with stones, killing 10-year-old Husayn Dakhil Ahmad and wounding 25-year-old Meaad Abd Allah in the chest.

  

But US forces on Tuesday denied the claim. "Somebody within the crowd shot him (the boy), not US forces. US forces did not fire into the crowd," said 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) spokesperson Major Josslyn Aberle.

  

She also disputed Jiburi's account of the protest, describing the demonstration as "some sort of salary dispute ... not anti-US, nor pro-Saddam."

  

An AFP correspondent on the scene said the casualties occurred when about 500 protesters, carrying portraits of Saddam Hussein, took to the streets of Hawija and began pelting US soldiers with stones.

  

Soldier dies

In Falluja, west of Baghdad, the US military confirmed that one American soldier was killed and one wounded in a bomb attack, on a convoy on Monday.

A military spokeswoman, who would not give her name, said the convoy was attacked about 9:15 am (0515 GMT) by an "improvised explosive device" in the town of Habbaniyah, near to where the Americans had a large base.

An Iraqi police officer told AFP that unidentified resistance fighters fired four mortar rounds on Monday morning at a US position in the centre of Kirkuk, an Iraqi police station and an army rehabilitation centre.

US troops have been forced onto 
the defensive by Iraqi fighters

The mortars apparently failed to hit their targets and caused no casualties or damage.

 

 

 

US forces have not restored security to war-torn Iraq since occupying Baghdad in April and continue to come under daily attack.

 

A military spokesman admitted that six US soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack on Sunday against a convoy in the hotspot town of Falluja, 50km west of Baghdad.

 

The convoy was hit by an "improvised explosive device". The wounded soldiers are said to be in stable condition. 

 

War rages on

US President George Bush declared major combat over on 1 May, but this was hard to believe in the town of Khaldiyah as US troops used tanks, helicopters and a F-16 jet to battle their way out of an ambush.

For more than four hours, US soldiers and Iraqi resistance fighters fought pitched battles after a convoy came under rocket-propelled grenade attack.

One resident said he saw "many" occupation forces killed. The US army said two soldiers were wounded.

 

Eye witnesses also said four Iraqi civilians were hurt, including an elderly woman who was taken by US helicopter to a hospital after being hit in the shoulder.

 

And in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, a bomb was found and defused in a bag on a busy commercial street.

 

The incident took place just a month after a blast in the city killed prominent cleric Ayat Allah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim.