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Two Americans Die in Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2004 – Two Americans were killed in Iraq today, one day after Secretary of State Colin Powell said the insurrection in the country "is getting worse."

Two 1st Infantry Division soldiers died in two separate incidents near Balad, officials said. The first was the result of a traffic accident. A patrol vehicle swerved to miss a truck. It overturned, and two soldiers were injured. They were evacuated, and one died later.

The second soldier was killed when anti-Iraqi forces attacked his patrol as it was returning from the scene of the accident.

Powell said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Sept. 26 that insurrection is getting worse. "And the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election," he said. "They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic election."

Elections are scheduled in Iraq for January 2005. Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the elections would happen on schedule. He said the vast majority of the Iraqi people want to see the elections take place and want a free and democratic Iraq.

Powell said the Iraqi security forces and the coalition must confront the increase in violence. "Because it's getting worse, we will have to increase our efforts to defeat it, not walk away and pray and hope for something else to happen," he said. "These are individuals who are trying to take Iraq back to the past. And they must not be allowed to."

Anti-Iraqi forces demonstrated their complete disregard for the safety of the Iraqi people in two other incidents. In one, insurgents fired several mortar rounds into a Ramadi neighborhood Sept. 26.

"U.S. Marine radar tracked two rounds from the point of origin to the point of impact in the neighborhood, and returned artillery battery fire at the point of origin four kilometers north of the city," according to a news release from military officials in Iraq. "No Marine artillery rounds fell within the city limits of ar Ramadi."

In another case, anti-Iraqi forces fired four mortar rounds at a coalition forward-operating base in eastern Baghdad. Three of the rounds landed outside the camp perimeter, with one falling inside the camp. There were no coalition casualties, and it is not known if civilians were hurt.

"Since April, anti-Iraqi forces have fired nearly 3,000 mortar rounds in Baghdad alone," said Army Lt. Col. James Hutton, 1st Cavalry Division spokesman. "In that same timeframe, multinational forces have fired none."

Early this morning, coalition aircraft launched precision strikes on several positively identified targets, according to a news release. The attacks killed four insurgents and destroyed several enemy positions.

In Mosul, anti-Iraqi forces exploded a car bomb as a National Guard patrol passed by, killing at least four guardsmen and wounding three others, Iraqi police said.

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