US,Polish soldiers killed as fence being built around Sunni enclave in Baghdad

Published April 21st, 2007 - 12:59 GMT

An American soldier died in a roadside bomb blast southwest of Baghdad on Saturday, the military said. Two other troops were also wounded in the exploson that took place some 15 miles southwest of the Iraqi capital.


"The soldiers had dismounted from their vehicles and were conducting a foot patrol when they were struck by a roadside bomb," a U.S. military statement said.


Earlier, a Polish soldier was killed when his military convoy hit a roadside bomb in the central Iraqi city of Diwaniyah on Friday, Poland's Defence Ministry said Saturday. He was the 20th Polish soldier killed in Iraq since 2003.


Meanwhile,  a wall American forces are building around a Sunni enclave in Baghdad came under growing criticism on Saturday, with residents calling it "collective punishment" and a local leader saying construction started without the neighborhood council's approval.


The U.S. military claims the wall in Baghdad is aimed at securing the minority Sunni community of Azamiyah, which "has been trapped in a spiral of sectarian violence and retaliation." The area, located on the eastern side of the Tigris River, would be completely gated, with entrances and exits manned by Iraqi soldiers, the U.S. military said earlier this week.


But some residents of the neighborhood, which is surrounded by Shiite areas, complained that they had not been consulted in advance about the barrier, which will be completed by the end of this month.



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