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Two U.S. Service Members Killed in Separate Incidents in Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2003 – One American soldier was killed and six were injured in Iraq Aug. 21 during a fire at a Baghdad small-arms shooting range, according to a U.S. Central Command press release.

Also, CENTCOM reported that a gunman shot and killed a U.S. Marine the same day in Al Hillah.

The fire victims were members of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division according to CENTCOM. The injured soldiers were evacuated to local military medical facilities for treatment. One soldier died due to burns and smoke inhalation.

The deceased Marine was a member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force who was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle stopped in heavy traffic. According to initial reports, an unidentified man approached the vehicle, shot the service member and escaped into a nearby crowded market area.

The wounded Marine was taken to a military medical facility where he was pronounced dead, according to CENTCOM.

Meanwhile, CENTCOM reported that U.S. forces in Iraq continue the search for illegal weapons. Acting on a tip, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division operating near Abu Huraybish on Aug. 20 seized 200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, two 60 mm mortar tubes, six 60 mm mortar rounds, artillery propellant, one AK-47 automatic rifle, one rocket-propelled grenade, one RPG sight, two mortar sights, one sniper scope and four bayonets.

Three people at the seizure site were detained for questioning, according to CENTCOM.

The command also noted that 1st Armored Division soldiers confiscated an AK-47 automatic rifle, assorted ammunition and ammo magazines in the Baghdad area after spotting an individual on a rooftop.

Also, 1st Armored Division troops recently found two improvised explosive devices in Baghdad, according to CENTCOM. Explosive ordnance detachment troops safely removed them. And thanks to another tipster, an EOD team removed another explosive device found near an Iraqi government building.

1st Marine Expeditionary Force members, again acting on information provided by a tipster, CENTCOM officials said, recently seized another weapons cache in Babil Province. That cache contained enough materials to make 200 improvised bombs. Items seized included 300 pounds of dynamite, blasting caps, wire and eight RPG launchers. In another raid, Marines confiscated 50 anti-tank guided missiles, multiple cluster bomb units and rockets.

During a 24-hour period from Aug. 20-21, coalition forces in Iraq conducted 20 raids and 879 day patrols and 656 night patrols, according to CENTCOM. Coalition units also conducted 216 day patrols and 189 evening patrols jointly with Iraqi police.

In other Iraq news from the command, U.S. and coalition forces are asking Baghdad vendors to move their booths away from city streets and back to designated market places. The Iraqi vendors had moved their booths into the streets after the fall of the Hussein regime, causing considerable traffic congestion.

CENTCOM noted that 1st Armored Division officials have arranged for contractors to rebuild damaged portions of the market places. Also, U.S. military officials plan to clean up trash and debris in the streets after the market booths are moved.

The command also reported that the U.S. Army is accepting claims from aggrieved Iraqis for actions caused by American forces under the Foreign Claims Act. The purpose of the act, according to a CENTCOM release, is to develop positive relations and goodwill between the United States and Iraq's people.

And in Afghanistan, CENTCOM reported that a U.S. special operations trooper died from injuries received during an Aug. 20 military operation near Orgun, in Paktika Province.

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