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U.S. death toll in Iraq passes 1,000 - Sep 8, 2004

Where’s the good news about the war? All I ever see is people dying and stuff burning.  By now, there HAS to be something positive about this.

Insurgents attack, burn Baghdad police station

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 Posted: 11:16 AM EDT (1516 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN)—Four U.S. troops died in Iraq on Tuesday, bringing the total of Americans killed in the 18-month-old war to 1,002.

More than three-quarters of those killed, 756 of them, have died in combat, and 647 of those have been killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003.

According to a CNN tally, 1,129 coalition troops from 15 nations have died in Iraq.

Three of the soldiers who died Tuesday were killed in fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. A fourth soldier died of wounds suffered in a roadside bombing Monday, the military said.

Two other deaths were reported by the military.

The Army also reported that a soldier was killed Sunday when his tank hit a roadside bomb in Khalidiya, north of Baghdad and a sailor from a Navy construction battalion was killed Saturday, according to the U.S. Central Command.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged the death toll earlier Tuesday, but told reporters at the Pentagon that going on the offensive against terrorism “has its cost.”

“It should be noted that the civilized world passed the thousandth casualty mark a long time ago,” he said. “Hundreds were killed in Russia last week. And this week, of course, on September 11, 2004, we remember the 3,000 citizens of dozens of countries who were killed on September 11 in 2001.”

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called Tuesday’s report a “tragic milestone,” and said the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with those who have had family members killed in Iraq.

He promised that their sacrifices “will not be in vain.”

“We are committed to making the right decision in Iraq and the right decision for them at home, and that is the way we will honor their sacrifice,” said Kerry.

According to The Associated Press, more than half of the dead were 30 years old or younger. At least 36 were foreign born and 10 were awaiting citizenship when killed. (Full story)

In Tuesday’s fighting in Sadr City, at least 33 Iraqis were killed and 200 were wounded in battles between U.S. troops and militants loyal to Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi officials said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army’s 1st Calvary Division, which is in charge of patrolling Sadr City, said there were numerous overnight operations, but the official wouldn’t provide details.

Tanks, armored personnel carriers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles moved along city streets, and the U.S. military said Air Force F-15 and F-16 jets flew combat support but dropped no weapons.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities have been trying to hammer out a peace agreement there more than a week after al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani reached a cease-fire in the south-central city of Najaf—where fierce fighting raged between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mehdi Army militia for three weeks in August.

An al-Sadr spokesman in Baghdad, Sheik Raed al-Kadhimi, blamed the outbreak of fighting on what he described as hostile U.S. incursions into Sadr City and attempts to arrest the cleric’s followers.
Insurgents attack, burn police station

Insurgents Tuesday night overran a central Baghdad police station, killing one police officer and wounding 10 others, a police spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, 17 attackers stormed the building with rocket-propelled grenades and guns, setting fire to the facility. Nineteen prisoners held in an outside detention area were freed in the attack.

The prisoners were being held for murder and robbery, according to the spokesman.

By the time U.S. troops arrived to secure the facility, the attackers had fled.
Fierce shelling in Falluja

Marines working with Iraqi security forces in the flashpoint city of Falluja used tanks, artillery and aircraft to pound insurgent targets Tuesday.

“Significant numbers of enemy fighters, up to 100, are estimated to have been killed,” the military said.

Fighting started around 6:30 p.m. local time after insurgents fired at Marines and Iraqi security forces on the edge of the city, said the military, which reported no U.S. or Iraqi casualties.

The Marines fired artillery from their positions outside the city at buildings believed to be housing the insurgents and did not enter the city, the military said.

Falluja is a Sunni Muslim insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad and the scene of repeated flare-ups.
Humanitarian workers kidnapped

Meanwhile, Iraqi police said two Italian women and three Iraqis were abducted Tuesday by kidnappers dressed as Iraqi National Guard members.

An Italian intelligence source said the women worked for the humanitarian organization A Bridge to Baghdad.

Italian authorities identified the women as Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, both 29, according to media reports.
Other developments

# Iraqi and U.S. authorities in Najaf have recovered large numbers of weapons and munitions in the Wadi al-Salem cemetery and buildings near the Imam Ali Mosque since fighting ended August 28, the U.S. military said. So far, 1,258 weapons have been found and 10,596 munitions recovered, the military said.

# The govenor of Baghdad, Ali Al-Haidary, escaped an assassination attempt unhurt Tuesday when his convoy was attacked in a western district of the capital. Video from the scene showed at least one body being placed in an ambulance.

# Masked gunmen Tuesday assassinated Abbas al-Husseiny, deputy director of Baghdad’s Al-Karama Hospital, Iraqi officials said. He was killed while eating breakfast at a restaurant in al-Thahab district.

# In northern Iraq, unknown assailants shot and killed the son of Nineveh provincial Gov. Duraid Kashmoula, Mosul police said. Laith Duraid Kashmoula was driving to work when assailants pulled up next to his car and opened fire with small arms, police said. He was an employee in the Iraqi government’s anti-corruption office in Mosul, the largest city in the northern Iraqi province. The governor’s cousin, Usama Kashmoula, was shot dead in an ambush two months ago.

CNN’s Kevin Flower, Cal Perry, Faris Qasira, Walter Rodgers and Alessio Vinci contributed to this report.

Posted by SPN on 09/08 at 06:04 PM in International

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