US forces kill two Iraqis in Baqouba region; American soldier killed south of Tikrit
US forces identified Saddam Hussein loyalists in custody on Wednesday as two key members of the ousted leader's Republican Guard and a paymaster for his Fedayeen Saddam militia.
Meanwhile, a US soldier was killed and another was injured when their convoy hit a roadside bomb some 15 miles south of Saddam's ancestral hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday, the military reported.
The victims were riding in an armored personnel carrier, second in a four-vehicle convoy, Major Josslyn Aberle, spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division, said.
In addition, the US military reported killing two Iraqis in separate incidents in the Baqouba region, 45 miles northeast of the capital city of Baghdad.
According to AP, Aberle said the two were killed after opening fire on US troops; however she provided no further details.
Officials with the 4th Infantry said they released ten other men taken in a sweep through the outskirts of Tikrit Tuesday, keeping four in custody.
All those arrested in the sweep were members of a family described as a pillar of support for the toppled regime, said US Lt. Col. Steve Russell.
"They were trying to support the remnants of the former regime by organizing attacks, through funding and by trying to hide former regime members," Russell said.
In the meantime, also Wednesday, Iraq's US administrator Paul Bremer told ABC's Today Show the return of troops depends on the progress Iraqis make in setting up a "sovereign government".
"That's a question the new government will want to negotiate with America, find out whether it thinks it's able to defend its own security, but my guess is we're going to be here awhile," Bremer said.
When pressed further for a timetable, Bremer stated, "I don't think there's very much to be gained by guessing at how long it's going to take, because we simply don't know." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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