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Vehicle Bomb Wounds Four; Iraqis Thwart Another Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2004 – A vehicle bomb wounded four U.S. soldiers today in western Baghdad, hours after Iraqi security forces thwarted another attempted bombing in the Iraqi capital.

Initial reports from the scene indicate that a Multinational Force Iraq vehicle was hit by the blast. One soldier was taken to a nearby military hospital, while three others suffered minor wounds and were treated at the scene. Several civilian vehicles were damaged in the blast and subsequent fire.

Earlier today, Iraqi police and National Guard troops prevented a vehicle bomb from inflicting civilian casualties in western Baghdad.

At about 11:30 a.m., a suspicious vehicle approached a checkpoint manned by Iraqi National Guard troops near the Mula Hawaysh Mosque. The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene when approached by security forces. Iraqi police called in Iraqi and U.S. explosive-ordnance teams to investigate.

The area was quickly cordoned off and secured by EOD specialists and the troops. The vehicle exploded at about 12:50 p.m. There were no injuries to military members or civilians near the blast.

EOD experts estimated the blast to be the work of more than 500 pounds of explosives. Windows were blown out of the mosque, and the northeastern wall of the structure was damaged by the car bomb.

"This incident could have been deadly if it wasn't for the watchful eyes of Iraqi security forces," said Army Maj. Phil Smith, the deputy public affairs officer for the 1st Cavalry Division. "It is just another example of the utter disregard of terrorists for the lives and well-being of the Iraqi people."

In other news from Iraq, military officials in Baghdad announced today that charges have been preferred against two Task Force Baghdad soldiers, alleging they were involved in wrongfully killing three Iraqis. The Army's Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the allegations. Officials would not provide more information, citing the ongoing investigation.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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