US in fresh sweep across Iraq

US occupation forces launched a large-scale operation on Sunday in areas north of Baghdad to crush growing Iraqi resistance.

    US forces are facing more attacks

    Occupation forces detained more than 60 people as part of the operation dubbed Desert Sidewinder. 

    They also seized weapons and military documents in the sweep from the Iranian border in the east to towns north of the capital.

    The US Central Command (Centcom) said the raids did not result in any casualties to the occupation forces.

    The new operation follows Operation Desert Scorpion that was launched on 15 June to eliminate what the occupation forces described as "destabilising influences".

    Centcom said that the US-led forces detained 15 people and confiscated some weapons during raids in the northern city of Mosul on Saturday.

    The raids targeted followers of a Wahabi Islamist leader, it said.

    The occupation forces also stepped up security measures around military outposts, administration offices and ministry buildings in the city, witnesses said.

    Resistance activities

    Desert Sidewinder comes amid growing resistance to the US-led occupation of the country.

    An Iraqi civilian was killed and two US soldiers were injured on Sunday in Baghdad when a blast targeted a US convoy.

    There were no details on how the Iraqi civilian was killed. Two military vehicles were also damaged.

    Earlier, rocket-propelled grenades were fired at a US patrol near Khaldiyah, 60 km west of Baghdad. A grenade struck a Bradley fighting vehicle but did not cause damage or injuries.

    US soldiers returned fire with 25 mm cannons. However, the resistance fighters managed to escape.

    In a separate incident overnight, two grenades were thrown at US soldiers near the Iraqi National Museum.

    The soldiers escaped, but a neighbouring store was damaged.

    Eyewitnesses were quoted by the French news agency AFP as saying US troops in the flashpoint town of Fallujah came under rocket-propelled grenade attack overnight.

    There were no reports of casualties in the resistance operation, which took place in the town's marketplace.

    A US army spokesman said he was unable to confirm the attack.

    Tensions high

    Iraqis are frustrated with their

    Meanwhile, hundreds of former Iraqi soldiers demonstrated on Sunday in front of the British forces headquarters, in the southern city of Basra, after occupation troops failed to pay their salaries.

    They hurled stones at the headquarters in the country's second biggest city.

    The US-led occupation administration said it would begin regular payments in mid-June after former soldiers threatened to resort to violence.

    US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, sacked all Iraqi soldiers on grounds of dismantling the Ba'athist structure. The move has left tens of thousands jobless.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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