- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

BAGHDAD — Iraqi witnesses said an American soldier was shot in the neck while shopping and that an Army truck struck what appeared to be a land mine yesterday, the latest in a series of attacks raising concern that the United States could be confronting a guerrilla war in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said it detained six Iraqis in connection with the disappearance of U.S. servicemen earlier this week north of Baghdad.

Witnesses said a gunman shot the soldier while he was shopping for compact discs on a sidewalk in northwest Baghdad. Ammar Saad, a 44-year-old vendor, said the soldier was shot in the neck at close range.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Sean Gibson said the wounded man, a civil affairs soldier, was shot while assessing the area. He was in critical condition at a combat support hospital, Maj. Gibson said.

Mr. Saad and another witness, 20-year-old porter Jassem Obeid, said the assailant escaped into a crowded nearby market.

At least three U.S. military personnel have been killed in Iraq since Thursday, two of them in ambushes against U.S.-led occupation forces.

More attacks were reported outside the capital.

Two American soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were wounded last night when they came under rocket-propelled-grenade attack while traveling in their Humvee in Baquba, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Mark Young.

Just northwest of Baghdad, a U.S. Army truck hit an explosive device, apparently a land mine, on a dirt road yesterday morning. A U.S. soldier and a witness said wounded Americans were evacuated by helicopter.

The soldier said on the condition of anonymity that the Americans were driving to Baghdad to make telephone calls to their families when the explosion occurred.

In other violence, the military spokesman said U.S. troops in western Baghdad fatally shot an 11-year-old Iraqi boy on the roof of his house Thursday. Maj. Gibson said soldiers had seen someone carrying an assault rifle moving from the back of the roof to the front.

Meanwhile, authorities interrogated six suspects detained in connection with the disappearance of two American soldiers, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.

The pair were guarding the perimeter of a rocket demolition site near the town of Balad, 25 miles north of Baghdad, when they did not answer a radio call and were reported missing Wednesday night, Sgt. Compton said.

“We don’t know if they were abducted or they were just killed,” Sgt. Compton said.

Also yesterday, British forces in the southern city of Basra, responding to a tip from residents, discovered and removed a surface-to-air missile launcher at a hospital. The missile system had been hidden on the grounds of the Shatt al-Arab Hospital, and British soldiers said it had been fired on a number of occasions during the war.

From Wednesday to Thursday, assailants blew up a U.S. military vehicle with a roadside bomb, demolished an oil pipeline and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Army truck, wounding two soldiers.

Assailants also threw grenades at a U.S. and Iraqi civilian convoy in west Baghdad on Thursday, killing two Iraqi employees of the national electricity authority.

Hostile fire killed one U.S. special operations soldier and wounded eight others Thursday, the military said.

Also Thursday, gunmen killed an American soldier investigating a car theft in Najaf, 100 miles southwest of Baghdad, a statement from U.S. Central Command said.

A U.S. Navy sailor attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died in a noncombat incident Thursday, military spokeswoman Army Sgt. Amy Abbott said.

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