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Insurgents Step Up Baghdad Attacks

Insurgents in Baghdad stepped up their attacks Saturday killing Iraqi and American soldiers as well as civilians. In the meantime, Iraq's minister of electricity says insurgents are reducing Iraq's ability to provide electricity.

In Baghdad Saturday, there were several insurgent attacks, including a roadside bomb that killed three Iraqi National Guard forces. The explosion occurred following heavy clashes involving National Guard troops and insurgents in the Baghdad suburb of al-Amiriyah.

There was an ambush in Baghdad that killed a U.S. soldier and wounded nine others. Military officials say the attack occurred in the central section of Baghdad and involved improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

Elsewhere in the capital, four interim Iraqi government employees were killed in a drive-by shooting as they were traveling to work. And, a car bomber attacked a convoy of five sport utility vehicles in Baghdad. A civilian passerby was killed in the blast.

North of Baghdad, in the city of Mosul, the bodies of nine Iraqi soldiers were discovered Saturday. Iraqi military officials said all of them appeared to have been killed by bullets to their heads. The bodies were located near the scene of heavy clashes with insurgents in Mosul.

In the meantime, Iraq's interim Minister of Electricity, Aiham al-Sammarae said Saturday, that insurgents are succeeding in their effort to curtail the supply of electricity throughout the country. The minister said Iraq has lost almost 1,600 megawatts of power in recent weeks, down from October's supply of more than 4,700 megawatts.

Mr. al-Sammarae said insurgents can cut off electricity supplies, almost at will.

"They can win, at any time, to put Baghdad down," said Aiham al-Sammarae. "I mean, shut down Baghdad's electricity. They can do that. Just certain [power] lines, and if they have the knowledge, and I know they do have the knowledge, they can do it. But, I can put it back tomorrow. And, I put it back tomorrow and I will get some of them. And, I will continue that until I get all of them."

Reporter: "There's fewer megawatts produced today than there were two weeks ago. In that regard, would you say the insurgents are winning a battle?"

Minister al-Sammarae: "They are winning this battle, yes."

The electricity minister blamed the dwindling supply of power on acts of sabotage and the recent U.S.-led military assault on the rebellious city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Military officials say they plan to move quickly to rebuild Fallujah, where about 1,200 insurgents were said to have been killed following the U.S.-led invasion of the city.

Fallujah, along with the city of Ramadi, also west of Baghdad, are completely without power. The electricity minister said Baghdad is now being supplied with about 12 hours of electricity each day, down from 20 hours a day under the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

Interim government officials say about $5 billion will be needed over the next five years to restore electricity throughout Iraq. However, that figure does not include the cost of repairing damage caused by any future acts of sabotage.