Saturday, September 25, 2004

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, & Understandin?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least nine Iraqis and five U.S. troops died in fighting and attacks by insurgents across Iraq, the U.S. and Iraqi military said Saturday, as hospitals counted the dead and U.S. warplanes hit targets in Falluja.

Four Marines, from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, were killed Friday in three separate incidents while "conducting security and stability operations," in al Anbar province, which includes Falluja, the U.S. military announced Saturday.

Officials in Falluja counted at least seven dead and 12 wounded Iraqis brought to hospitals overnight, with reports of civilian casualties, including women and children.

U.S. warplanes on Saturday attacked targets in that city, which the U.S. military considers the center of a terrorist network and where clashes between U.S. troops and insurgents are frequent.

U.S. forces have been fighting suspected members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror network in Falluja, and warplanes targeted "a known terrorist meeting site," the U.S. military said.

On Saturday, insurgents attacked a van carrying new Iraqi National Guard recruits in western Baghdad. Seven recruits were killed and four recruits and an unknown number of civilians were wounded.

Witnesses said the attackers threw two hand grenades at the van and then shot at it with small arms.

Also, an improvised explosive device killed a Task Force Baghdad soldier in the capital on Saturday.

In Baghdad Friday, police reported an officer with the Iraqi Central Intelligence Service was assassinated after gunmen ambushed the officer's car in western Baghdad.

Before leaving the scene, the gunmen spray-painted a message on their target's car: "This is the fate of the traitors," police said.

North of the capital, gunmen killed an Iraqi police captain Saturday morning as he waited at a taxi stand in the suburb of Al-Sada near Baquba.

With violence hitting so many parts of Iraq, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has pleaded with other countries to help Iraq both militarily and financially.


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