- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003

From combined dispatches

BAGHDAD — A U.S. soldier was killed and two others were hurt yesterday in a blast near the flashpoint Iraqi town of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

The soldiers were in a convoy that was attacked around 6:30 a.m. local time. One died of his wounds in a hospital, the military said in a statement.

The attack followed a suicide car bombing at a base of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division near Ramadi on Thursday in which one U.S. soldier was killed and 14 were wounded.

On the outskirts of the southern city of Mahaweel, a bomb made from a land mine exploded as a 19-man Polish convoy drove by yesterday, wounding two soldiers.

Warrant Officer Tomasz Kloc was seriously wounded in the stomach and was evacuated to Baghdad, 45 miles to the north, while Sgt. Boguslaw Wasik suffered less severe injuries and was treated at the scene, Maj. Gen. Andrzej Tyszkiewicz told Poland’s TVN24 television.

Two other coalition soldiers were slightly injured earlier yesterday when Iraqi insurgents fired at least two projectiles, possibly mortar shells, at coalition headquarters in Baghdad. A coalition spokeswoman said she did not know the nationalities of the wounded soldiers.

A building in the so-called “Green Zone”, the downtown area housing coalition headquarters, was slightly damaged in the attack, the first on the U.S. seat of power since the United States mounted a counteroffensive against insurgents last month.

“I heard what appeared to be incoming mortar rounds,” Charles Krohn, a U.S. defense spokesman, said from his room inside the Green Zone. “I was shaken and I heard a couple of thumps. I felt the vibrations.”

The zone includes the Al-Rasheed Hotel, which was rocketed Oct. 26 in an attack that killed a U.S. colonel and wounded 18 other people. Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was in the hotel at the time but escaped injury.

Meanwhile, the president of Iraq’s Governing Council, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, and at least two other members of the council left yesterday for Spain — the start of a European tour that will include France, Germany and Britain. The reason for the trip was not announced.

Other members of the Governing Council said yesterday they may ask the U.S. military to expel 3,800 paramilitaries of the Mujahedeen Khalq, Iranians who oppose their government and who operate from Iraq.

“We might ask the Americans because they have the military capabilities,” Governing Council member Dara Noor al-Din said. “We don’t have an army and the police force isn’t well enough equipped to face the Mujahedeen.”

The U.S.-appointed council has no plans to hand the Mujahedeen Khalq members over to Iran, where they are wanted for terrorist attacks, Iraqi officials said.

The Mujahedeen Khalq has for years sought to topple Iran’s Islamic government.

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