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Fighting across Iraq
punctuated by firefight in
Khaldiyah, raids in north
KHALDIYAH, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi
insurgents ambushed U.S. convoys
with roadside bombs and rocket-pro-
pelled grenades yesterday, triggering
an eight-hour battle in which the
American military - in a display of
force - sent in fighter jets, bombers,
helicopters and tanks. One U.S. soldier
was killed and three were wounded.
And in northern Iraq, U.S. soldiers
launched two dozen raids, arresting 92
people and seizing weapons and
ammunition. One of the raids involved
the largest joint operation between U.S.
military police and American-trained
Iraqi police; about 200 Iraqi officers
The two ambushes hit U.S. military
convoys about 9 a.m. in the Sunni
Muslim towns of Habaniyah and
Khaldiyah, six miles apart along the
Euphrates River and about 50 miles
west of the Baghdad.
As the major firefight raged in
Khaldiyah, it seemed as though the
Americans were pinned down, with the
insurgents opening fire each time the
U.S. patrol tried to withdraw. Eventual-
ly commanders called in jet fighters,
A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft, heli-
copters and tanks.
The attackers apparently hid in trees
and shrubs lining the dirt road where
the roadside bombs left four big
Reporters saw four badly damaged
farm compounds in the al-Qurtan
neighborhood on the north side of
Khaldiyah, scene of several previous
firefights between the U.S. military
and guerrilla fighters. Angry residents
cursed at reporters who entered the fire
zone after the battle.
Civilians, including women and chil-
dren, fled. One Iraqi man, running
away with his wife, three other women,
a nephew and five children, said many
homes were damaged. He refused to
give his name.
"Is this the freedom that we were
promised?" he asked. "I had to get my
family out. ... The helicopters were fir-
ing almost nonstop. My 7-year-old is
too young to hate but how can he not
hate them (the Americans) after this?"
Lt. Col. Jeff Swisher, of the 1st
Infantry Division, defended the use of
"American forces are here to provide
security for the Iraqi people. If we are
attacked, we are a well-trained and dis-
ciplined force, and we will respond,"
"At 9 this morning an American
patrol was ambushed by IEDs (road-
side bombs), RPGs (rocket-propelled
grenades) and small arms fire. The
patrol returned fire and support was
called in," Swisher said.
He said two soldiers were wounded
and a civilian was hurt in the battle,
from which U.S. forces did not begin
withdrawing until about 5:30 p.m.
About 10 minutes after the ambush
in Khaldiyah, a homemade bomb
exploded as a U.S. convoy passed in
Habaniyah, killing one soldier and
wounding another, said U.S. military
spokesman Lt. Col. George Krivo.
Six soldiers from the 82nd Airborne
Division were wounded Sunday in
nearby Fallujah in another roadside
bombing, U.S. officials said.
Meanwhile, soldiers of the 4th
Infantry Division launched two dozen
raids in Saddam Hussein's hometown
of Tikrit, 120 miles north of Baghdad,
and other areas in the north of the
country, arresting 92 people and seiz-
ing weapons and ammunition.
The operations, which ended yester-
day morning, were designed to "break
the back of the Fedayeen," said Lt. Col.
David Poirier, who commands the
720th Military Police Battalion based
in Fort Hood, Texas.
"The people we went after are the
trigger-pullers attacking the coalition,"
Poirier said. "We want to send the mes-
sage that if you pull the trigger on the
coalition, we will get you."
Of the 92 arrested, four were taken
into custody in the joint U.S.-Iraqi raid.
Raids in the 4th Division sector
have intensified after Iraqi resistance
fighters shot and killed three Ameri-
cans in an ambush two weeks ago just
IF YOU MISSED
ONE OF OUR
White House denies leak of agent's identity
The White House denied yesterday that President Bush's top political
adviser leaked a CIA agent's identity to retaliate against an opponent of the
administration's Iraq policy. Prodded by Democrats, the Justice Depart-
ment said it was looking into whether a full investigation was warranted -
a step rarely taken.
Two months after the CIA complained that the identity of an undercover
agent had been exposed in apparent violation of the law, the Justice
Department's counterespionage section is still conducting a preliminary
probe, officials said. The White House was cool toward Democrats' argu-
ment that a special counsel should be appointed to guarantee an impartial
The disclosure of the intelligence officer's identity by syndicated colum-
nist Robert Novak came shortly after her husband, former Ambassador
Joseph Wilson, undermined Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium
in Africa. In what turned out to be a major embarrassment, Bush was even-
tually forced to acknowledge he could not back up his statement.
Iran says nuclear traces came from abroad
Iran acknowledged yesterday that additional traces of weapons-grade uranium
have been found on its soil but argued they came from abroad - a claim U.N. and
other experts said cannot be discounted.
The United States and its allies accuse Tehran of running a secret nuclear weapons
program, and Iran's acknowledgment was expected to strengthen those arguments.
Over the weekend, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Iran
to abandon its suspected nuclear-weapons programs.
Iran is facing an Oct. 31 deadline to bare its nuclear secrets set by the International
Atomic Energy Agency board of governors. If the board rules at its Nov. 20 meeting
that Tehran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty banning the spread of
nuclear arms, the Security Council could impose diplomatic or economic sanctions.
The IAEA is sending a team to Iran for negotiations Thursday ahead of what the
agency hopes will be a new round of inspections starting Friday.
Iran insists it will not stop uranium enrichment and that it has a right to a peaceful
nuclear program, as allowed under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Anthrax antidote may
work, needs testing
Consider it an anthrax blood-
hound, a drug that can swoop into
the body, latch onto deadly toxins
spewed by anthrax bacteria and get
rid of them.
Two years after the anthrax-by-
mail attacks, scientists are hard at
work on such an antidote.
It's far too soon to be sure it will
work. The drug, called ABthrax, did
save animals exposed to lethal
amounts of anthrax, but human safe-
ty tests only recently began.
If the anthrax killer, still at large,
struck again, a few hundred doses of
the experimental drug are on hand
that doctors might be allowed to try.
It's one of very few new options in
advanced testing despite millions
spent on bioterrorism preparedness
That's the sobering reality: Med-
ical research takes a lot of time.
grow as costs rise
The ranks of the uninsured swelled
by 2.4 million last year as insurance
costs kept rising and more Americans
lost their jobs and health care coverage.
The number of people without health
insurance the entire year rose to 43.6
million, a jump of almost 6 percent
from 2001 and the second consecutive
annual increase, the Census Bureau
said in a report being released today.
The percentage of Americans without
health coverage rose from 14.6 to 15.2.
The bureau reported a survey last
week that found more people fell into
poverty and median income declined in
2002, even though the recession offi-
cially ended in November 2001.
Reflecting the broad scope of the
recession and its aftermath, significant
increases in uninsured rates occurred
among whites, blacks, people 18-to-64,
and middle- and higher-income earners.
Calif. recall displaces
The California recall has gotten
unprecedented national TV coverage
for a statewide election, receiving more
airtime on the Big Three networks than
the White House race.
From Aug. 1 through Sept. 25, the
nightly newscasts on NBC, ABC and
CBS devoted a total of 127 minutes
to the recall, said Andrew Tyndall,
who monitors TV news for his Tyn-
dall Report newsletter. In that same
period, the Democratic presidential
contenders received a total of 36
That represents unprecedented
national airtime for a statewide elec-
tion, Tyndall said. In 2002, the net-
works gave all gubernatorial races
nationwide a combined 40 minutes of
attention for the year.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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