A U.S. soldier is dead and another wounded in the latest attack against coalition forces in Iraq. Iraqi opinions about the attacks vary widely.
Tuesday's deadly ambush follows the same pattern as many of the other attacks on U.S. forces over the past weeks. Assailants shot rocket-propelled grenades at the U.S. troops, followed by small-arms fire. The attack took place in a predominantly Sunni Muslim area near the town of Ramadi, where many of the attacks against U.S. forces have been concentrated.
A coalition public affairs officer, Major William Thurmond, said the attacks are mainly the work of armed cells loyal to Saddam Hussein, but other elements are also involved. "We see the attacks on coalition forces coming from three different groups: former Baathists, criminals, and terrorist cells who are either from Iraq or from other nations," he said.
Major Thurmond says the coalition has the right number and mix of troops to fight these militants. He says soldiers serving in Iraq are trained on tactics to thwart the attacks, such as how to identify roadside bombs, one of the most common weapons used by the militants.
While many Iraqis believe the attacks are primarily the work of remnants from Saddam's Baath Party, their opinions on the incidents differ.
Shareen Abdul-Ghadi, a 31-year-old teacher living in Baghdad, sees the ousting of Saddam Hussein as a great service to Iraq and strongly opposes the attacks against those who forced him from power. She is also against the militant actions for other reasons. "These attacks affect us, the Iraqi people, as well as the coalition forces, because they disrupt electricity and other public services," she said.
But Salih al-Sattar, a 38-year-old lawyer, also from Baghdad, believes the deadly ambushes are legitimate resistance against a foreign army. "In terms of the attacks I think any country that is being occupied by American forces or being colonized by another country will see some kind of resistance or attacks, [as] is the case in Afghanistan," he said.
A survey of Baghdad residents conducted recently by a British polling organization found that about 25 percent of them feel friendly toward coalition forces, while about 18 percent said they feel hostility. Nearly half of those polled expressed no preference.