Wed, Nov 05, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Attacks continue as Congress gives nod to billions for Iraq

REUTERS , BAGHDAD

One soldier was killed and one wounded in a bomb attack in Baghdad yesterday, one day after the US Senate approved President George W. Bush's request for US$87.5 billion to finance Iraq's occupation and reconstruction.

Congress sent Bush the bill, which gives him almost everything he sought to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through much of next year, the day after 16 US soldiers were killed in the worst single attack since the US invasion.

Faced with a mounting military and civilian death toll and stiffening guerrilla resistance, Bush vowed on Monday that the US would not run from its "vital" mission in Iraq.

"The enemy in Iraq believes America will run. That's why they're willing to kill innocent civilians, relief workers, coalition troops. America will never run," Bush said, despite falling approval ratings in the US over the war.

"The mission in Iraq is vital," he added.

Bush's comments were his first since the 16 soldiers were killed when guerrillas shot down their CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Sunday.

A US Army spokeswoman in Baghdad said the nationality of the soldier who was killed in a roadside bomb attack yesterday was not yet known.

The overwhelming majority of troops in the US-led occupation force in and around Baghdad are American.

"We are aware of an incident in the Baghdad area involving an IED [improvised explosive device] attack at 10:10am that killed one soldier and wounded one soldier," the spokeswoman said. She had no more details.

Bush said in a statement that the bill's passage "underscores that America and the world are united to prevail in the central front in the war on terror by helping build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Iraq."

He said the US was "being tested" by forces who "want America and its coalition partners to run so the terrorists can reclaim control."

Occupation troops face daily attacks in Baghdad and areas to the north and west of the city. The lethal resistance has also forced most foreign aid workers to leave.

Bush blamed the series of attacks on Saddam Hussein holdouts and "foreign terrorists."

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