BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A grenade attack Saturday killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded four as they guarded a children's hospital northeast of Baghdad, scuttling hopes a widespread guerrilla insurgency might lose strength after the deaths of Saddam Hussein's elder sons.
Another U.S. soldier died and two others were wounded later in the afternoon when their convoy was attacked west of Baghdad near the Abu Ghraib prison.
In Mosul, engineers with the 101st Airborne Division tore down the badly damaged villa where Odai and Qusai Hussein were killed Tuesday in a four-hour gunbattle with U.S. forces.
The home belonged to Sheik Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhhamad, a regional tribal leader and Saddam cousin who neighbors said tipped American troops that the Hussein brothers were at his house.
The U.S. occupation administration had offered $15 million each for information leading to Saddam's wanted sons and $25 million for Saddam. It was believed, although not confirmed by occupation military commanders, that Muhhamad was in protective custody.
Since the killings of Odai and Qusai, the U.S. military said more Iraqi informants have been coming forward with tips. And with the arrest Friday of some of Saddam's bodyguards in Tikrit, his hometown and powerbase, American forces say they are closing in on the deposed dictator.
The soldiers killed outside the hospital Saturday morning were part of the 4th Infantry Division, which came under grenade attack in Baqouba, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad. Witnesses told an Associated Press photographer that the soldiers were guarding the hospital because some of their wounded comrades were being treated there.
Maj. William Thurmond, a coalition military spokesman, said three of the injured soldiers were treated and returned to their unit, the fourth was evacuated to a military hospital.
In the second attack, about two hours later, an engineer unit attached to the 3rd Infantry Division was attacked with small arms and rocket propelled grenades, the U.S. military said. Two soldiers were evacuated to a combat hospital, where one died. A third was treated at the scene and returned to duty.
The deaths brought to 162 the number of troops killed in action since the start of the war, 15 more than in the 1991 Gulf War. The guerrilla attacks on American forces have averaged 12 a day, according to the military.
In Baghdad, the commander of Iraq's national police academy was wounded while leading a raid against suspected hijackers, police told AP.
Brig. Ahmed Kadhim, 56, was shot in the leg around 1 a.m. while police were trying to arrest five suspected carjackers, said his assistant, Capt. Mushtak Fadhil. Five other police were wounded, one critically, and five men were arrested.
The violence marred an otherwise quiet day as Iraqi civilians continued to debate the authenticity of video images of the bodies of Odai, 39, and Qusai, 37.
The video was shot by journalists who viewed the autopsied bodies Friday, part of a U.S. military effort to convince Iraqi people that the brothers - two of the most feared men in the ousted regime, second only to Saddam - were really dead.
The video appeared to have been more believable than still photographs published Thursday of the brothers shortly after being killed. The photos showed only their heads and shoulders, their faces obscured by heavy beards, blood and gashes; the video showed the entire bodies, the faces shaved and reconstructed to appear lifelike.
"When I saw them on TV, I was sorry. I hoped that they hadn't died too quickly," said Yassir Hussain, 45, a day laborer. "Odai took my innocent cousin to prison in 1984. Since then we haven't heard anything about him."
Others said they looked forward to seeing the body of Saddam.
"We were very happy to see their dead bodies on TV, and by the will of God we will see their father's corpse on TV soon," said Halla Karim Numan, a 35-year-old homemaker.
The display appeared to be a calculated gamble by coalition authorities, who may have produced more convincing evidence but also offended Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere by altering the bodies and delaying burial.
Baghdad erupted in celebratory gunfire after news of the brothers' death was reported. The Al-Mutamar newspaper reported Saturday that the bullets falling to the ground killed 31 Iraqis and injured 76 others, though the report could not be confirmed.
Results of the DNA testing on the bodies of Odai and Qusai at a military lab in Washington could be completed by this week.
A final report on the deaths is expected in about six weeks, the medical personnel said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
|One Marine killed, one wounded in grenade attack south of
BaghdadBy STEVEN R. HURST Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - One U.S. Marine was killed and one wounded early Sunday in a grenade attack south of Baghdad, after one of the bloodiest weeks in the guerrilla war against U.S. forces since President Bush declared major combat in Iraq was over on May 1.
The military said the attack occurred at 2:35 a.m. in the region controlled by the Marines south of the capital, and had no further information.
The death brought to 49 the number of U.S. forces killed in combat in Iraq since May 1 when Bush said the major combat phase of the Iraq War had ended. So far 163 U.S. soldiers have died in the war, 16 more than the number of those killed in the 1991 Gulf War.
There had been hope the killings Tuesday of Odai and Qusai Hussein, two of Saddam Hussein's sons and Nos. 2 and 3 on the U.S. most-wanted list, in the northern city of Mosul might demoralize the resistance. Instead, their deaths appear to have inspired a wave of revenge attacks.
Thirteen Americans died last week in what was believed to have been the deadliest seven-day period in the guerrilla war since Bush's May 1 declaration.
Four U.S. soldiers were killed Saturday, three in a grenade attack outside a children's hospital in Baqouba, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, and one in a bomb and rocket-propelled grenade attack just west of the capital near the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
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