Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 6 News List

US troops arrest 12 after attack on base


Insurgents fired several mortar rounds at a US supply base north of Baghdad, and American forces arrested at least 12 Iraqi suspects in a counterattack, the US military said yesterday. There were no reported casualties.

The mortar attack occurred late Monday night at a base near Balad, 90km north of the capital, said Nicole Thompson, a spokesperson for the US military in Baghdad.

She said US forces subsequently caught 12 of the suspected attackers.

Meanwhile, witnesses said a US military vehicle was attacked early yesterday morning in Baghdad, near the bridge of Jadriya.

US military personnel surrounded the area, and a photographer saw the charred spot of earth where the attack occurred. The US military said it had no immediate information about the incident.

The violence came after a deadly 24-hour period that saw three US troops killed in Baghdad.

Despite the worsening guerrilla warfare, the US-led administration called two new city councils to order -- one in the southern Shiite city of Najaf and the other in the chaotic capital.

The administration also announced an initial economic agenda, including establishment of an independent Iraqi central bank and plans to rid the country of bank notes.

The councils -- which join other municipal governments with limited powers emerging around Iraq -- are expected to act as a proving ground for national leaders, as the US tries to lay the ground for an eventual transition to democracy.

A British soldier was wounded in a sniper attack in Basra, southern Iraq, while on patrol Sunday night, the Ministry of Defense said Monday.

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