US soldier killed as Bremer says attacks cost billions of dollars in damage for Iraq economy
An American soldier was killed by an explosive device in Baghdad Monday as the top U.S. civilian administrator said that attacks by saboteurs on Iraq's infrastructure and oil industry have cost the economy billions of dollars.
U.S. officials said the soldier was fatally wounded when the device detonated. He was rushed to a combat hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Two soldiers were wounded in a separate incident, after guerrillas attacked their convoy with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire about east of Tikrit, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, the apparent sabotage of water, petroleum and electical lines is slowing U.S. attempts to rebuild Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq, told CNN.
"It's people who do not share the vision of a free Iraq with a vibrant economy the president has set forth and which Iraqis share," Bremer said on CNN. "These are probably people left over from the old regime who are simply fighting a rear guard action."
On Monday, huge fires burned in warehouses in northeast Baghdad where a guard told The Associated Press that 50 gunmen had charged past him, looting spare parts from buses and other state vehicles and setting fires in old tires and buses. Mohammed Jabber said a U.S. Army patrol passed the area about 30 minutes later but took no action.
In the past three months, such attacks have cost billions of dollars in damage, according to Bremer. But he warned that the United States would not be pushed out of Iraq.
"I think these bitter-enders that we are faced with live in a fantasy world, where they think somehow the Baathists are going to come back," Bremer said, referring to members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. "They are wrong. We'll leave when the job is done. They are not going to chase us out, they are not destined to succeed." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)