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Four U.S. Troops Killed in Latest Violence in Iraq 300 Suspects Rounded Up in Baghdad Operations, Military Says

Washington Post | May 23, 2005
By Ellen Knickmeyer and Fred Barbash

Four U.S. soldiers have died in separate incidents over the past 24 hours in Iraq, the military announced Monday, as U.S. forces mounted new offensive operations in Baghdad in response to accelerated insurgent attacks that have claimed more than 400 lives in the past few weeks.

While the military claimed to have rounded up some 300 suspects in the operations Sunday and Monday, another Iraqi official was assassinated in Baghdad even as the offensive was in high gear.

The victim was Iraqi Brig. Gen. Wael Rubaie, chief of the operations room in the office of National Security Affairs.

The attack took place in the Mansour neighborhood about 8:45 a.m. Monday when armed men approached Rubaie's car and sprayed it with gunfire, according to a government spokesman.

Rubaie is one of dozens of high level officials singled out for killing in the past year.

Meanwhile, a car bomb at a restaurant in northern Baghdad killed four and injured about 40 on Monday, Iraqi police told wire services. The blast struck the restaurant at lunch time.

In other violence, the Associated Press reported that a suicide bomber killed five people and injured 13 when he drove an explosives-packed pickup truck into a crowd of people outside a municipal council office in Tuz Khormato, 50 miles south of the northern city of Kirkuk, said police commander Lt. Gen. Sarhat Qader.

Three of the four U.S. soldiers killed died in "terrorist attacks" in Mosul Sunday, the military said. The statement provided no further details.

The fourth soldier died Sunday in Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, when his patrol was attacked with a car bomb, the military said.

In Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, insurgents detonated two car bombs along the perimeter of a U.S. base, the military said.

As troops responded to the car bombs, another attacker wearing an explosive vest approached the scene and was shot just before the vest detonated.

Four U.S. solders were injured in the Samarra attack.

Local police said insurgents had also attacked an Iraqi police convoy in the area, killing one Iraqi and wounding 21.

In Baghdad, the military said it had detained close to 300 suspected terrorists in the western section of Baghdad known as Abu Ghraib, the site of the infamous prison that has been attacked several times by insurgents in the past month.

"Operation Squeeze Play," as the military called the offensive involving U.S. and Iraqi forces, is designed to "hunt down, kill or capture terrorists who have been staging attacks in the Iraqi capital," said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a military spokesman.

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