Black weekend for US forces in Iraq

Three US soldiers were killed in Iraq and six injured over the weekend as calls mounted in Washington for more military resources to be allocated to the country.

    US soldiers still suffering casualties

    A US soldier from the fourth infantry division was killed early Sunday after being hit by what US Central Command in Doha described as a "non-hostile gunshot".


    A US Marine died and another was injured when their large transport vehicle crashed southeast of the town of al-Samawah.


    Another US soldier was killed and three injured while handling unexploded ordnance in Baghdad on Saturday.


    The four soldiers detonating the ammunition, belonging to the US Army V Corps, were ferried to a field hospital for treatment, the US Central Command said in Doha on Sunday.


    Centcom said in a statement that an investigation into the incident was underway.


    In a separate incident that occurred on Saturday, two US soldiers were injured when unidentified fighters launched a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at their transport truck near the town of Habbaniyah.


    On the same day, another attack by fighters armed with an RPG targeted a US Army tanker truck at a Baghdad fuel depot but did not cause any casualties.   


    The tanker, however, was destroyed. Centcom said it was “on a humanitarian assistance fuel mission” at the time.


    US Marines detained four Iraqis to interrogate them, according to the statement.


    On Tuesday, two US Marines were killed when they were detonating unexploded ordnance. The following day, nine Iraqi children were killed and seven wounded in southern Iraq when a rocket they were playing with exploded.


    In the United States, some officials have suggested that more occuaption troops would be needed in Iraq to put an end to the chaos that prevailed following the collapse of President Saddam Hussein's government last month.


    Democratic representative Jane Harman said US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, "could do this job if we commit the resources. If we don't, he'll fail."


    In February, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki said at least 200,000 troops would be needed to maintain peace in Iraq. His claims were publicly rejected twice by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.


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