American soldier shot dead in Baghdad as more than 1000 Iraqis captured by US forces
An American soldier was fatally shot guarding a bank in the Iraqi capital Saturday, while the U.S. military concluded two separate sweeps in and around the city, arresting more than 1,200 people and seizing weapons, explosives and ammunition, the military said.
The latest death came a day after two separate attacks on convoys in which one soldier was killed. It brought to 149 the number of U.S. personnel killed in combat since the March 20 start of the war, i.e. two more than the 1991 Gulf War total for U.S. deaths in combat.
The soldier guarding the Baghdad bank died at about 2 a.m. outside the Al-Rasheed Bank in western Baghdad, Corp. Todd Pruden said, according to AP.
Pruden also announced that a U.S. serviceman was injured Friday when the convoy he was in was attacked north of Baghdad with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Three vehicles in the convoy were damaged in the attack in Muqdadiyah, some 100 kilometers northwest of the capital, Pruden said.
In another convoy attack Friday, a U.S. soldier was killed when a bomb was detonated by remote control at a traffic circle near the main bridge over the Euphrates River in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad.
On the northern outskirts of Baghdad, a gasoline tanker arriving from Turkey was hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown from a passing car. The Turkish driver, Amin Abdul-Rahman, 28, jumped from his truck when the engine caught fire and was unharmed.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, about 1,000 demonstrators protested the detention of a Shiite cleric and head of a local cultural center by United States-led forces one week ago.
Mehdi Abdul Mehdi, head of the al-Naba Cultural Center and publisher of the weekly newspaper al-Naba, was arrested by U.S. soldiers at his office July 12 for allegedly trying to organize an anti-American political party, said protesters.
The military also announced it had wrapped up two sweeps - dubbed Operation Ivy Serpent and Operation Soda Mountain earlier in the week. Some 1,210 people were detained in the two operations, including 112 people suspected of close ties to the former Saddam Hussein regime.
The operations, which both ended Thursday, netted some 6,000 mortar rounds, more than 1,400 rocket propelled grenades, explosives, AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons. None of those captured, however, were among those still at large from a list of 55 most wanted Iraqis from the former regime. (Albawaba.com)