- The Washington Times - Friday, June 18, 2004

BAGHDAD — Insurgents launched two attacks in Baghdad yesterday, killing an American soldier and wounding a civilian contractor in a mortar barrage on a U.S. base, and injuring three U.S. troops in a coordinated ambush in another part of the capital.

The attacks were among several in Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq following a series of deadly car bombings this week that have unnerved an Iraqi public before the transfer of sovereignty at the end of this month.

Three Iraqi civilians died in the ambush, which began when a roadside bomb exploded in the Kamalaya district of east Baghdad, the U.S. command said. Insurgents opened fire from the rooftops.

U.S. troops returned fire and the insurgents “sustained moderate casualties,” the military said.

Several hours later, six mortar shells exploded at a 1st Cavalry Division camp in southern Baghdad, killing an American soldier and slightly injuring a contractor working for the Halliburton subsidiary KBR, the military said.

Elsewhere, American soldiers clashed with insurgents for a second straight day in the Sunni town of Buhriz outside Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Insurgents also attacked U.S. troops at a police station in the Sunni Triangle city of Samarra, firing rocket-propelled grenades and rifles after warning shopkeepers to close, witnesses said.

U.S. troops returned fire, wounding two attackers, residents said.

In the south, British soldiers traded small-arms fire overnight with Shi’ite fighters loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Amarah, witnesses said. There were no British casualties but two insurgents were killed.

A coalition spokesman said the smaller of two oil pipelines blasted by insurgents this week had nearly been repaired, although engineers were still examining the larger one.

Spokesman Dominic d’Angelo said tests could begin on the smaller pipeline today but full exports would probably not resume before the end of next week. Iraqi exports were suspended Wednesday because of the attacks on the pipelines, which carry crude oil from the southern fields to tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Exports from Iraq’s other field near Kirkuk were halted last month by sabotage on the pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey.

In the Shi’ite city of Kufa, Sheik al-Sadr denounced interim President Ghazi al-Yawer as an American-installed puppet.

“Your alliance with the occupation will bring only shame and disgrace to you,” Sheik al-Sadr told Mr. al-Yawer in comments read by an aide during the weekly Friday sermon at the Kufa mosque.

Sheik al-Sadr said he was “hurt” to see Mr. al-Yawer shaking hands with President Bush on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in Sea Island, Ga., last week.

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