Unrest and uncertainty in Iraq

There are conflicting reports emerging from Iraq on whether or not US soldiers were killed in Baghdad on Tuesday even as a new US poll suggested Americans are no longer gung-ho about how the troops are fairing in Iraq.

    Angry Fallujah residents gathered outside Al Hassan mosque

    According to eye-witnesses speaking to Aljazeera, five US soldiers were reportedly killed in two separate incidents in Baghdad.

    Three soldiers were killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck a military convoy near Al Munstansariyah University in the heart of the capital. The soldiers’ Iraqi translator was also killed in the attack.

    Some witnesses, however, said the blast came from a car bomb parked near the convoy.

    Two more soldiers were killed earlier in the day when a military van tried to assist other soldiers in a turned over vehicle. They both came under attack.

    Pentagon denial

    However, Pentagon officials deny having lost any soldiers on Tuesday.

    Instead, spokesperson Diane Perry told reporters that US soldiers were injured by “an improvised explosive device.”

    Meanwhile, Fallujah witnessed continued unrest as angry residents vowed revenge after nine Iraqis were killed in what witnesses described as an overnight US missile attack on a mosque. The imam of the mosque was also killed in the attack.

    The imam, Shaikh Laith Khalil, died of his wounds late Tuesday evening.

    Fallujah residents told Aljazeera that US forces fired on the mosque because they suspected that Iraqi resistance fighters were meeting inside.

    An Iraqi victim of the overnight
    mosque blast

    Shaikh Ahmad al Janabi, a cleric at the mosque said, “targeting the mosque is a provocation to all Muslims”.

    But local US commanders deny firing on the mosque. “US forces had no involvement with an explosion, which destroyed a building in a mosque courtyard,” their statement read.

    In response to the incident, residents took to the streets of the western Iraqi town and declared they would force occupying forces out of Iraq.

    “This mosque is where the resistance will effectively start,” shouted one man.

    ”We will not stop until we kick out all the Americans from Fallujah and the rest of Iraq,” he said.

    In other developments:

    • A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that 56% of respondents said US forces were fairing well in Iraq. It is a significant drop from 70% only one month ago, and 86 percent during the week of 7 May.

    • The UN Security Council called on world governments to freeze the assets of the 55 Iraqis on the Pentagon’s list of “most wanted” former government leaders.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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