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U.S. Troops Involved in Fatal Iraqi Shooting - 2003-05-22

Another top official on the U.S. most wanted Iraqis list has been captured. The U.S. Central Command says Aziz Sajih al-Numan is now in custody. He was the Baath Party regional command chairman for west Baghdad and the former governor of Najaf and Karbala. 25 of the 55 most wanted Iraqis are now in custody. Carol Pearson reports on other developments in Iraq including an incident in a town near Baghdad.

Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, visited a mass gravesite south of Baghdad Thursday.

He spoke to relatives trying to identify missing family members among piles of bones.

"It's a very powerful reminder of what an awful man Saddam was."

Mr. Bremer said a U.S. led forensics team had arrived to help collect evidence. Some estimate that between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqis have been reported missing in a region south of Baghdad.

About 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, U.S. Troops patrolled the town of Fallujah. Wednesday night, two Iraqis died there in a shooting incident involving U.S. troops.

Captain Mike Reidmuller is the American officer in charge of night patrols in Fallujah.

“We were on patrol when one of my armored vehicles was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, an RPG-7. As a result of that, we returned fire at a couple of people who had weapons and were shooting AK-47’s at us. A few minutes after that somebody attempted to disable another one of my Bradleys (fighting vehicles) by ramming it with a car and there was continued firing throughout the night.”

Protests about the US Army’s presence in Fallujah turned violent last month when US soldiers fired on crowds, killing 18 Iraqis.

In Baghdad, a curfew has been established and night patrols are underway to make the streets safe from looters and violent crime. Girls have been kidnapped and raped since the fall of Saddam Hussein. U.S. forces say the measures taken to make the city safer are working.

“Definitely Baghdad is much safer and law and order has definitely been established here.”

Still, Iraqis say they want law and order to be fully restored.