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2 US Soldiers Killed in Iraq - 2003-05-27

The U.S. Army says two U.S. soldiers were killed Tuesday morning and nine were injured in an attack.

U.S. Central Command says a hostile force of unknown size attacked U.S. soldiers Tuesday morning with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

The attack occurred in the Iraqi city of Fallujah about 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.

U.S. troops responded with fire from Bradley fighting vehicles, killing two of the attackers. Six others were captured. Central Command says the attackers may have fired from a mosque in the city.

The incident happened shortly before the Iraqi National Congress, a political group of Iraqis who have recently returned to the country, was voicing concern about what it says is a lack of security throughout country. At a news conference Tuesday Entifahd Quanbar, the spokesman for the INC, said his group is pushing for the creation of a special security force.

"We are suggesting to form an Iraqi security force that is trained and led by the coalition forces to maintain security and law and order on Iraqi streets," he added.

Mr. Quanbar said such a security force could be in place in a matter of a few weeks.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has said security remains a top concern and coalition forces are working with Iraqis to build a professional security force. He says U.S. military police are conducting joint patrols with Iraqis to prepare them for their role after the coalition leaves.

U.S. Central Command in Doha says coalition forces have conducted thousands of patrols and several dozen raids in Iraqi neighborhoods, detaining or arresting hundreds of people.

Last Thursday the Iraqi National Congress headquarters in Baghdad was attacked by someone firing from a passing vehicle. No one was injured. Mr. Quanbar blamed members of Saddam Hussein's ousted Baath party.

And while he praised the de-Baathification efforts being made by the U.S. administrator in Iraq, Mr. Quanbar said getting rid of those loyal to Saddam will take time.

"I can tell you that Baathists and Saddam's cronies are not going to give up very soon," he said. "Therefore, we have to be very vigilant in how to fight them and how to put them through a legal due process to receive their proper punishment."

On Monday, the U.S. administrator, Mr. Bremer, announced that he will form a de-Baathification advisory council made up of Iraqis, to help make policies aimed at ridding Iraq of the former ruling Baath party.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Central Command announced that two more of the 55 most wanted Iraqis had been captured. The command said both men were regional chairmen of the Baath party.