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US Soldiers Come Under Fire in Baghdad - 2003-06-18


One American soldier has been killed and another wounded in a shooting attack in central Baghdad. In another incident, U.S. troops fired on stone-throwing Iraqi demonstrators in front of the coalition forces headquarters in the city, killing two demonstrators.

U.S. military officials say unidentified gunmen drove by and shot the soldiers at a gas station. The assailants managed to escape as other troops came in to help those hit.

The shooting was just the latest in a series of almost daily attacks and ambushes against American troops in Baghdad and in areas north and west of the capital. In a similar incident, an American soldier was shot and killed by a sniper Monday. Military officials blame the attacks on loyalists of the former regime of Saddam Hussein. The military has launched a nationwide security operation to flush out these armed elements and confiscate illegal weapons. Hundreds of Iraqis have been detained for questioning regarding attacks against U.S. troops.

In another incident, two Iraqis were killed during a demonstration in front of one of Saddam Hussein's palaces, which now serves as the headquarters for coalition forces. When the protesters began throwing stones at the American forces, troops responded with gunfire.

The demonstrators were former Iraqi soldiers who were protesting the loss of their jobs. There have been frequent demonstrations since the U.S. civil administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, disbanded the Iraqi armed forces last month.

In a news conference Tuesday in Baghdad, Mr. Bremer said security remains the top issue for his civil administration.