- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2003

BAGHDAD — Roadside bombs in and near Baghdad killed two American soldiers and two Iraqi children yesterday, a day after a coordinated guerrilla assault in a southern city killed 19 persons and wounded nearly 200, the U.S. military said.

In one of yesterday’s attacks, a bomb exploded west of Baghdad, killing a U.S. soldier and wounding three others, the military said.

The soldier who was killed, from the 82nd Airborne Division, was in a convoy struck by militants near Fallujah, west of Baghdad. The three wounded soldiers were evacuated.

Earlier, a blast in Baghdad killed an American soldier and two Iraqi children, and wounded five American soldiers, their Iraqi interpreter and eight members of the Iraqi civil-defense corps, said Sgt. Patrick Compton of the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division.

The Baghdad bombing attack against soldiers from the Army’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment occurred in the eastern neighborhood of Karrada.

“It was a bad one,” Sgt. Compton said. “It’s a real densely populated area of town.”

Overnight, U.S. forces acting on a tip from an Iraqi informant found about 580 rockets buried near Abayachi, a village northwest of Baghdad, said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

The stash of 57 mm rockets was unusually large, indicating that it might have been intended for sale to insurgents.

“We ruined some arms dealer’s day,” Maj. Aberle said.

Also Saturday night, bombs destroyed four liquor stores in the northern city of Kirkuk. Islamic militants have carried out similar attacks in the past, because alcohol is forbidden under Islamic law.

Yesterday, hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession for victims of the biggest rebel attack since Saddam Hussein was captured on Dec. 13.

Suicide bombers and assailants with mortars and grenade launchers blasted two coalition military bases and the governor’s office in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Karbala on Saturday.

Six coalition soldiers — four Bulgarians and two Thais — as well as six Iraqi police officers and a civilian died Saturday. A fifth Bulgarian soldier died yesterday.

Also yesterday, five Iraqis wounded in the attacks died, the Polish news agency PAP reported, quoting Iraqi health official Saad al-Nasrawi. More than 170 people, mostly civilians, were wounded.

In Thailand yesterday, government and military officials debated the deployment, with one senator calling for a withdrawal of the country’s 422 noncombat troops, mostly medics and engineers. The prime minister vowed to keep the troops in Iraq.

The Thai and Bulgarian troops are part of a multinational force of 9,500 soldiers led by Poland that controls south-central Iraq. Its commander, Gen. Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, called the ambush the most serious attack suffered by coalition forces in that region.

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