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2 US Soldiers Killed in Mosul - 2003-12-10

Two U.S. soldiers have been killed in separate attacks in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. And a U.S. military cargo plane was forced to land after reportedly being hit by a missile.

American troops were guarding a gas station in the northern city of Mosul when gunmen opened fire on them, killing one soldier and wounding another. A military spokesman says they returned fire and killed one of the assailants, but local residents say the gunmen escaped, and the dead civilian was an innocent bystander.

Later in the day, a roadside bomb exploded near a military convoy in the same city, killing another U.S. soldier and wounding three more.

Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. military aircraft have been targeted in a series of attacks over the last two days. A military spokeswoman says a C-17 cargo plane was forced to make an emergency landing at the Baghdad airport after an explosion set fire to one of its engines shortly after takeoff early Tuesday. She says the plane landed safely, and one soldier on board was lightly injured in the blast.

The spokeswoman at the airport said the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

But a Pentagon official in Washington has told several news agencies that the plane was hit by a missile. If that is true, it is the second time in a month that a plane taking off from Baghdad airport has been hit by a missile. A commercial cargo plane was struck last month, and all commercial flights have since been suspended. But the U.S. military has continued to use the airport.

In northern Iraq on Wednesday, an Apache attack helicopter also had to make an emergency landing, but a military spokesman in Baghdad said he did not have any details about the incident. On Tuesday, another military helicopter in Fallujah made an emergency landing after being hit by small-arms fire.