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7 US Soldiers Wounded in Separate Attacks in Iraq - 2003-07-08


Three separate attacks in Iraq have wounded at least seven U.S. soldiers. But the head of the coalition provisional authority does not believe the ousted Iraqi leader is actually coordinating the attacks against U.S. troops.

The head of the coalition provisional authority, Paul Bremer, says the attacks on U.S. troops are being carried out by, what he calls, professionals with military training. But based on information from captured attackers, he believes the insurgents are working in small, uncoordinated squads.

"There is so far, anyway, no indication of centralized command and control, nor any indication that Saddam Hussein himself or any other one person is giving orders to these people," he said.

The coalition has, however, offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who attacks coalition troops or Iraqi police officers.

Coalition security chief Bernard Kerik believes the reward will help the authorities catch the attackers.

"I want people to provide us with information that leads to the arrest of people [who are] attacking coalition members and the Iraqi policeā€¦," said Mr. Kerik. "I want those people off the streets, and I think that is one way to do it."

News of the reward followed three new attacks against U.S. troops. Two of them took place in Baghdad and involved explosives.

A military vehicle in the capital hit a landmine, wounding two soldiers. Elsewhere in Baghdad, on the highway leading to the international airport, someone dropped a homemade bomb from a bridge onto a military convoy, injuring two soldiers.

U.S. troops are calling the airport highway RPG Alley because of the frequent attacks using rocket-propelled grenades.

The third attack took place in the Kurdish-controlled northern city of Kirkuk. Three soldiers were wounded when someone fired an RPG at their patrol. They returned fire, but failed to injure or capture any of the attackers.

Until recently, there were not many attacks on coalition troops outside central Iraq, in a rough triangle leading north and west from Baghdad. But several attacks in the north and south in recent days indicate that pattern may be changing.