Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Hospital attack kills three US soldiers

REUTERS , BAGHDAD

Three US soldiers were killed while guarding a children's hospital near Baghdad yesterday in the latest in a wave of attacks that have not been stopped by the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons.

An army spokesman said four other soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division were wounded in the grenade attack in Baquba, 50 km north of the capital in the restive "Sunni triangle" where ambushes on US troops have been concentrated.

The attack brings to 47 the number of American soldiers killed since US President George W. Bush declared major combat over on May 1. Eight have died since Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay were killed on Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul.

US troops with bulldozers began demolishing the villa where the brothers were killed, after scouring it for clues on the whereabouts of the deposed dictator. The wall around the squat concrete mansion was knocked down and Iraqi workers clambered over the roof, pounding it with sledgehammers.

The villa had been badly damaged when US troops attacked it with machineguns, grenades and anti-tank missiles in the fierce battle that killed Uday, 39, Qusay, 37, and two others believed to be a bodyguard and Qusay's teenage son.

The house belonged to a businessman with links to Saddam's family. US officials have declined comment on local speculation that it was he who betrayed the brothers in return for US$30 million in reward money. Washington says it will pay.

Iraqis crowded round newspaper stalls in Baghdad to view photographs of the bullet-scarred and blood-spattered bodies of the brothers.

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