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Keeping the Peace as Iraq Enters Rebuilding Phase - 2003-04-16

As the U.S.-led war against Iraq enters the rebuilding phase, U.S. President George W. Bush is calling for the United Nations to lift economic sanctions on Iraq – so countries can buy food and oil from Baghdad without the restrictions. The move came as the U.S. offered up to 200,000 dollars for information on the whereabouts of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Amy Katz has more.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said they do not know whether Saddam Hussein is dead or alive. He was the target of two massive U.S. air strikes – but U.S. intelligence has been unable to determine if either attack actually killed him.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Wednesday American marines killed at least seven Iraqis in Mosul Tuesday – when U.S. soldiers shot back at protestors -- who were firing at them – near a government building the Americans were occupying.

“Fire was indeed delivered from coalition forces, it was lethal fire, and some Iraqis were killed as a result of that, we think the number was somewhere on the order of seven and there may have been some wounded as well.”

Witnesses say there was another shooting incident there -- involving American troops -- Wednesday – during a bank robbery. At least three people were reportedly killed. Tensions have been running high in Mosul, since Kurdish forces entered the city late last week.

In Baghdad, U.S. forces continue to sweep the capital looking for Iraqi fighters as well as documents, maps and weapons.

A U.S. Marines Special Operations Unit raided the offices of the city’s Mayor Wednesday. Special Forces also carried out a similar raid at the home of an Iraqi scientist – who is believed to have run a secret biological weapons plant. They seized documents and detained several men, but did not find the scientist – a woman whose nickname is Doctor Germ.

U.S. Marines also foiled a bank robbery in Baghdad Wednesday. They burst into the Rashid Bank as the men were stealing sacks filled with cash. Elsewhere in Baghdad, Iraqis took to the streets -- to protest the reappearance of the police from the ousted regime -- who reported back to work earlier this week. The demonstrators said they are no longer suitable.

And in Tikrit, U.S. Marines were at work tightening security in Saddam Hussein’s hometown – the last major Iraqi city to fall to coalition forces.