Mon, Dec 06, 2004 - Page 1 News List

21 Iraqi civilians killed by gunmen, bomb attacks

AFP , BAGHDAD

At least 21 Iraqis, most of them civilians, were killed in attacks by insurgents north of Baghdad yesterday, in the latest strikes on Iraqi security forces and people working with the US military.

Two US soldiers were also killed and four wounded in an attack on their patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Saturday, the US military said, adding that six insurgents were also killed.

At least 17 civilians working for a US contractor were killed and 13 others wounded when they were ambushed on their way to work in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, US Captain Bill Coppernoll said.

Insurgents in two pickups opened fire on civilian buses as they stopped to let the workers, who were employed by a US firm charged with destroying ammunition from Saddam's former regime at arms dumps just north of Tikrit.

About an hour later, three members of the Iraqi national guard, including a regional commander, were killed in a car bomb attack near the town of Baiji, 60km north of Tikrit, the US military and Iraqi national guard said.

The US military said 18 were also wounded when insurgents set off the car bomb and opened fire with small arms on a checkpoint near the town.

Baiji region national guard commander Mohammed Jassem was killed in the attack, said Lieutenant Abu Bakr Salim Najra.

In Samarra, south of Tikrit, one Iraqi soldier was killed and four were wounded when insurgents attacked their patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, Coppernoll said.

The US soldiers from Task Force Olympia were shot dead during an attack on their patrol in Mosul, 370km north of Baghdad on Saturday afternoon, the military said.

US forces have been conducting intensified operations in Mosul since coordinated attacks by insurgents on the city's police stations prompted most of the force to quit on Nov. 11.

In Saturday's incidents, insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire on the patrol from buildings in the Palestine neighborhood of the city, including mosques, the US military said.

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