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IRAQ: The search for Saddam Hussein



Residents of a wealthy district of Baghdad accuse US soldiers of firing indiscriminately at passing cars as colleagues raided a villa in a vain search for Saddam Hussein, killing five civilians. A US military spokesman said the raid was conducted by Task Force 20, a special team set up to hunt Saddam and his key aides, but gave no other details. A soldier at a nearby hospital said the bodies of five people had been brought in from the scene of the raid, including a boy in his early teens. The next day not a soldier was in sight in Mansur, and four burned or bullet-riddled cars had been taken away. Residents who witnessed the shooting said about 75 US soldiers poured into the area in the early evening, blocking off the main street but failing to prevent innocent motorists straying into the fire zone from quiet side streets. A US patrol was attacked with a grenade in broad daylight in central Baghdad, and two soldiers were badly wounded and possibly killed. A US officer at the scene said that two of his men had been badly wounded but declined to say whether they had died. Iraqi police said the two were dead. One soldier was slumped motionless in the back seat of the vehicle and another lay in the road. Neither received any medical attention and they were later driven away in the back of a truck. Local witnesses said the grenade was dropped on the vehicle from a bridge at a major intersection. The incident highlighted how easy it is for guerrillas to attack US troops. The grenade was dropped on a heavily armed convoy, and the assailant quickly melted away. (Reuters 7/29/03)

Ronald Hilton - 8/3/03


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