Soldier Killed, Marine Dies, C-130 Receives SAM Fire in Iraq

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2003 – An American soldier was killed in an attack on a convoy west of Baghdad today. Three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

The soldiers, members of the 3rd Corps Support Command, were fired on with a rocket-propelled grenade at about 9:55 a.m. local time. They were traveling near Abu Ghuraib prison in the western part of Baghdad.

A 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Marine died in Al Hillah July 15 from injuries received after he fell from the top of a building where he was standing guard duty.

The names of the soldiers and Marine are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In a new form of attack, a C-130 landing at Baghdad International Airport received surface-to-air missile fire this morning, officials in Baghdad said. The aircraft was not hit and it was able to land safely. Coalition officials said troops are searching the area where the missile is believed to have been fired from. Officials said this is the first SAM attack since April.

Operation Soda Mountain, led by the 4th Infantry Division to seek out Baath Party leaders and sympathizers, continues all over Iraq. The main portion of the operation is in the Sunni Triangle marked by Baghdad, Tikrit and Ar Ramadi. Soda Mountain continues previous activities to root out pockets of resistance and establish a secure environment in the country, coalition officials said.

The division’s other supporting operation, Ivy Serpent, continues its work to create a secure environment in Iraq. Since the operation began July 12, soldiers of the 4th have conducted 71 raids and detained 448 individuals, including 38 individuals identified as key former regime leaders, officials said.

Soldiers of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment seized a weapons cache in a town north of Habinyah that included attackers’ weapons of choice, officials said. The cavalrymen seized about 400 rocket-propelled grenade rounds and a number of other ordnance pieces.

The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force discovered and destroyed eight SA-7 missiles located in the Muhawil ammunition supply point in the southern portion of the country.

Five 4th Infantry Division soldiers were wounded in a mortar attack on their position July 15, officials said. All were taken to the 21st Combat Support Hospital for treatment and four were returned to duty.

Another 4th Infantry Division soldier was wounded July 15 near Tikrit when a rocket-propelled grenade struck the vehicle he was riding in. He was evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital for treatment.

Four 1st Armored Division soldiers were wounded in a skirmish in Baghdad July 15. A patrol surprised Iraqis placing explosives and came under small-arms fire. One Iraqi was killed in the incident.

Coalition forces continue aggressive patrols throughout the country, officials said. The total raids and patrols resulted in 360 arrests for various criminal activities including four for murder, five for car jacking, 11 for aggravated assault, 11 for burglary, and 13 for looting.

Moreover Reuters reports that another U.S. soldier has been killed as his vehicle drove over an explosive device in the restive western town of Falluja. His death, which occurred on Friday 17th June, now brings the total US casualties to 148, surpassing the total American fatalities in the 1991 Gulf War.

A U.S. military spokeswoman said the soldier`s Humvee vehicle drove off the road after the explosion in the town 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad.