View Full Version : Convoy blast kills U.S. soldier

07-19-03, 04:12 AM
Groups threaten to attack any nation that sends troops to Iraq
Associated Press

FALLUJAH, Iraq - A U.S. soldier was killed Friday when insurgents detonated a bomb under a military convoy in which he was traveling in this violent city west of Baghdad, the military said.

The 3rd Infantry Division soldier died of injuries in the afternoon attack on the main Fallujah bridge over the Euphrates River, military spokeswoman Sgt. Amy Abbott said.

Earlier, a witness in Fallujah reported seeing four U.S. soldiers evacuated from the scene of the attack and said three American Humvees were badly damaged. The military said it had no information on the number of blasts that sounded or any other details of the attack.

The attack took place about 3:30 p.m., after more than 24 hours during which the military had not reported any violence against American forces.

Fallujah police have been patrolling the city without U.S. escorts for about a week. Police complained they felt endangered by the presence of Americans, who have come under frequent attacks in this region known as the "Sunni Triangle."

Resistance to the American occupation has been especially strong in this area that stretches north and west from Baghdad. It is a stronghold of support for ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

On Thursday, a Navy sailor died of a noncombat gunshot wound in Hamishiyah, in southern Iraq, the military said Friday. It gave no further details on the sailor's death.

As American casualties mount, so do questions about who is behind them. The list of suspects, which already includes Saddam Hussein loyalists, freelance Arab fighters and Iraqis angered by the U.S. occupation, is growing.

On Friday, a previously unknown group, the Muslim Youths, added its name, warning in a videotaped message broadcast on Arabic television it would target any country that agrees to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

Gen. John Abizaid, the new head of U.S. Central Command, termed the insurgency a guerrilla-style war this week, the first time a senior military official has acknowledged the nature of the insurrection.

Several shadowy groups besides the "Muslim Youths" have popped up in recent weeks to claim responsibility for attacks.

One, calling itself the Islamic Armed Group of al-Qaida, Fallujah Branch, went on Arab television this week to claim that it, not Saddam, was behind the recent bloodshed.

Another, this one called Wakefulness and Holy War, said it carried out attacks in Fallujah, where tension has been high since U.S. soldiers shot and killed 20 Iraqi protesters in April.

And on Tuesday, an organization called Liberating Iraq's Army, went on Al-Arabiya television to promise retribution for any country sending peacekeepers.

As of Thursday, 224 U.S. soldiers had died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the Defense Department's most recent figures. Pentagon figures also show 53 British military deaths..

On or since May 1, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 87 U.S. soldiers have died there, according to the Pentagon's most recent figures.