Two US soldiers and an Iraqi have fallen victim to continued violence in the occupied country, as a letter purportedly written by former president Saddam Hussein called for jihad, or holy war, against "the hated invaders."
US President George W. Bush, meanwhile, said a new audiotape purportedly made by Osama bin Laden meant that "the war on terror goes on."
Coalition officials announced that two soldiers of the US Fourth Infantry Division were killed and one wounded in an attack late Saturday near the northern oil center of Kirkuk, 260km north of Baghdad.
The two deaths confirmed by the coalition bring to 103 the number of Americans who have died in combat since Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.
And in the city of Fallujah, an Iraqi was killed and another wounded when US soldiers opened fire after they came under attack while removing a military vehicle hit earlier by a rocket-propelled grenade, witnesses and hospital sources said.
The US vehicle had exploded when assailants attacked a convoy apparently transporting weapons and ammunition in the town, 50km west of Baghdad, witnesses said.
US troops left immediately after the attack but returned a little later and then opened fire, wounding two Iraqis, the witnesses said.
A local hospital doctor, Aiman Abdul Qader, said five Iraqis were wounded in the first incident, three of them seriously.
Following the attack, a number of people in Fallujah chanted slogans in support of ousted strongman Saddam, toppled by US forces six months ago, and al-Qaeda, the Islamist militant group led by bin Laden.
At least eight explosions later were heard from the US military base in Fallujah. And an anti-tank rocket was fired at an American convoy in the town of Khaldiyah, witnesses said.
"This is a first reaction after bin Laden's declaration," said witness Ahmed Suheil, 40.
In two "messages" to the Iraqi and American people aired by Qatar's Al-Jazeera television Saturday, a recorded voice claiming to be that of the al-Qaeda leader threatened to send suicide bombers to the US and to attack any forces joining the coalition in Iraq.
Bush, in Bangkok for a state visit and an Asian economic forum, said the recording reinforced his resolve for Washington's "war on terror."
"I think that the bin Laden tape should say to everybody, the war on terror goes on; that there's still a danger for free nations and that free nations need to work together more than ever to share intelligence, cut off money, and bring these potential killers, or killers to justice," he said.
But another specter emerged, as a letter purportedly from Saddam urged tribal leaders to launch holy war against "the hated invaders" and those who cooperate with them.
"I urge you to help your brothers in the resistance. Call the sons of your tribes to the jihad because the day of salvation is near," said the message, obtained by reporters.
"Your strikes, which they did not expect, hurt them. Their demons made them believe Iraq would be just a mouthful. To the contrary, it has been poison for them."
The letter, dated Oct. 9 and bearing Saddam's signature, was distributed Oct. 13 to about 20 people in Saddam's stronghold of Tikrit -- a flashpoint of anti-US violence -- according to people who called themselves "men of Saddam Hussein."
But as violence raged in the Sunni Triangle, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said it would be possible to draft a constitution and hold elections in the country before the end of next year.
"We can't commit to a precise calendar, but we think it's possible by the end of 2004 at the latest to finish our work: drafting a constitution, conducting a census and putting in an elected government," Mohsen Abdel Hamid told reporters during a visit to the United Arab Emirates.
On Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a new resolution, which gives the council until Dec. 15 to set a timetable for carrying out the steps.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic