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16 Soldiers Wounded in July 3rd Mortar Attack

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2003 – A total of 16 soldiers were wounded in a mortar attack against a logistics post near Balad, Iraq, July 3, U.S. Central Command officials said, Saturday.

Two of the soldiers, all members of the 4th Infantry Division, were evacuated from the area and are in stable condition, officials said. The rest were treated and released.

Combined Joint Task Force 7 officials said this is the first instance of a mortar attack against U.S. troops since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

In addition, troopers from the 3rd Squadron 7th Cavalry for the 3rd Infantry Division defeated three separate attacks on Highway 1 near Balad early this morning killing 15 attackers, according to news reports. According to a Central Command news release, the attackers attempted to engage the patrol with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. News reports indicate two other actions occurred near the site. There were no American casualties.

A 1st Armored Division soldier was shot and killed by small arms fire while protecting the Baghdad Museum at about 8:30 p.m. July 3, Combined Joint Task Force 7 officials said. The soldier was in the gunner's hatch of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at a guard post in the Rushafa neighborhood when he was hit.

Operation Sidewinder continues with 4th Infantry Division soldiers conducting 10 raids resulting in nine detained individuals. Overall coalition forces continued aggressive patrols conducting 20 raids, 1,390 day patrols and 880 night patrols on July 4. Coalition forces and Iraqi police arrested 226 Iraqis for various criminal activities. These include arresting five Iraqis for murder, eight for carjacking, four for aggravated assault, seven for burglary and 25 for looting.

The 3rd Infantry Division held a press conference with the mayor and police chief of Fallujah placing the blame for an explosion that destroyed a building in a local mosque complex squarely on an Iraqi bomb-making factory. The explosion occurred June 30 and many local Iraqis blamed the United States. In his statement, the mayor emphasized the explosion was not a U. S. attack, but Iraqis making explosive devices to be used against coalition forces.

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