Three US soldiers were killed in resistance attacks and two Iraqis were shot dead by occupation troops. In all around 20 US troops were injured in attacks as the Deputy Defence Secretary Wolfowitz arrived in the capital Baghdad on Friday.

 

A US occupation official in Baghdad on condition of anonymity said on Friday Wolfowitz was on a four-day visit. No further details were available as his visit was kept under tight wraps by the Pentagon.

  

In Washington, the defence department said Wolfowitz would be holding meetings with US commanders and Iraqi officials. This is his second visit since the US occupied Iraq in April this year.

 

"Mr Wolfowitz's schedule includes meetings with Iraqi officials, as well as with US and international troops and commanders," the Pentagon said earlier, in a statement, on Thursday.

 

Intense resistance

  

His visit came amidst a severe battering the US experienced from Iraqi resistance. In the fiercest attack of the day, two US soldiers were killed and four more wounded in a mortar attack north of Baghdad.

 

"A US base in Samara took two mortar shells, leaving two soldiers dead and four wounded," Major Josslyn Aberle of the Fourth Infantry Division said.

 

Iraqis battered by unrelenting US
occupation

Another US soldier was killed in the northern town of Mosul.

 

"One 101st Airborne Division soldier was killed in a small arms fire attack in western Mosul," a statement from the US Central Command said.

 

The latest deaths brought to 108 the number of US soldiers killed since President George Bush declared major combat over on 1 May.

 

In Fallujah, a hotbed of resistance 60 km west of Baghdad, witnesses reported that a roadside bomb wounded several US soldiers on Friday. It was the sixth resistance attack in Fallujah in as many days.

  

Iraqi witnesses said the attack occurred near a bridge at the western end of Fallujah. The witnesses said three injured US soldiers were evacuated after their colleagues sprayed the area with gunfire.

  

After the attack, television footage showed US troops detaining several Iraqi civilians, including one who was dragged from his vehicle and punched repeatedly in the stomach as he fell to the ground.

 

Iraqis killed

  

Meanwhile, Aljazeera's correspondent in Iraq reported that two Iraqis were killed and a third injured when US soldiers fired at them in southern Mosul.

 

The US army said they were fired at after they refused to stop their car at a checkpoint.

 

In Samara, the house of the city's chief policemen came under grenade attack. The house was partially damaged.

 

A bomb exploded under the car of the city's commissioner, completely destroying it.

 

In the southern city of Basra, Iraqi police together with the UK forces arrested two people on suspicion of making explosives.

 

Lt Col George Krivo, the US command spokesman in Baghdad, said attacks on  occupation forces had averaged about 26 a day over the past two weeks.

 

About  three-quarters of the attacks have occurred in an arc stretching from the  west through Baghdad to the region north of the capital, he said.