Two U.S. soldiers were killed Thursday in separate incidents -- one a daylight shooting at close range and the other a sniper attack, military officials said.
In the first attack, an Iraqi walked up to a soldier directing traffic at a bridge in Baghdad and opened fire with a pistol at close range, U.S. Army officers said. The soldier, whom the officers did not identify, was with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Ft. Polk, La.
A U.S. Central Command statement said that the assailant escaped and that “the unit has enlisted the support of the local populace in the search.” The soldier’s identity was being withheld pending notification of his relatives.
In the second attack, a U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division soldier was killed when a sniper shot him in the head in east Baghdad, said Capt. Tom Bryant, spokesman for the Army’s V Corps, which is based at Baghdad’s international airport. He said he had no further details.
In Washington, Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq war, confirmed the shootings to reporters after he and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld briefed Congress on the war.
Franks offered condolences and said: “I have an expectation that we will see rough behavior in this country for the foreseeable future. We will be up to it and our people will continue to do their jobs.”
Also Thursday, an American Humvee hit what was believed to be a land mine while crossing a median in a road near the Baghdad airport, Bryant said.
Details were sketchy, but at least one U.S. soldier was injured.
On Wednesday, the military said, two Iraqis shot at reconnaissance elements of the 3rd Infantry Division with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades as they traveled north of Baghdad.
The unit returned fire, the military said, killing one assailant.