This story is from the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia's biggest broadsheet (and I would describe it as politically central, or maybe a fraction to the right of centre). It just really surprised me cos it makes the place sound far more dangerous than I thought, it's like a constant hail of RPG attacks, small arms and bombs. Not sure about the 8 dead reported in the first couple of paragraphs, I heard that 3 were killed today which is bad enough but not 8. Nonetheless, from this article, it sounds like full blown war, nothing less. I saw a piece on telly last night saying Iraq is having a mini-consumer boom cos everyone's buying stuff that was illegal under Saddam, namely satellite dishes and mobile phones, which sounded like a pretty good sign for a recovery. Now I'm reading about US proxies such as the new Iraqi police turning up outside the US-backed TV
station with their throats cut. Hello? What the fuck's going on over there?
Heavy casualties in attack on US convoy
September 19, 2003
(Email to a friend)
US forces took heavy casualties in a series of attacks on an American convoy in the town of Khaldiyah, west of Baghdad, witnesses said.
According to an unconfirmed report by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television, eight American soldiers were killed.
The witnesses said a bomb exploded under a vehicle that caught fire with about 10 US soldiers inside. The rest of the convoy was pelted with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) as it struggled to make its way to a nearby US base.
Local resident Mahmud Ali, 45, said he saw eight badly burned soldiers taken from the bombed vehicle, while Yussif Ali, 40, no relation, said he saw four. But there was no official confirmation of any deaths.
A deafening explosion was heard from the US base outside the town, where large stocks of munitions are stored. But there was no immediate word on the cause or the consequences.
Two Iraqi civilians were reported hurt in the attacks, witnesses said. But there was no word on how they were wounded.
The US military in Baghdad said it had no immediate report of the incident, which came amid a spate of attacks on US forces a day after a purported audiotaped message from Saddam Hussein exhorted Iraqis to continued resistance.
It also came with tensions high in the region, with US troops shooting dead a teenager late on Wednesday in Fallujah, 30 kilometres to the east, where they mistakenly killed nine Iraqi security men five days earlier.
Mahmud Ali said the convoy was hit while travelling through the town en route from Fallujah to Ramadi, two hotspot Sunni towns west of the capital.
"A bomb exploded under a troop transport. It caught fire. The remainder of the convoy tried to continue and was hit by rocket-propelled grenades 500 metres away," he said.
An American helicopter circled the area, apparently poised to evacuate the wounded but did not land, the witnesses said.
The Americans again cut off the road. Four or five vehicles continued on their way and came under more RPG fire four kilometres away, and another vehicle was set ablaze, said Yussif Ali.
The Americans sealed off the area and called in reinforcements.
In the northern city of Mosul, meanwhile, US troops continued to come under a series of grenade and rocket attacks that began shortly after midnight local time.
The US military confirmed one incident, saying that rockets hit the Civil Military Operations Centre office there late on Wednesday, damaging some vehicles and leaving two people slightly wounded.
A military spokesman also said a soldier of the 4th Infantry Division was wounded on Wednesday by a bomb in the town of Taji, 10 kilometres north of Baghdad. He did not give any details.
But Mosul residents reported a run of attacks that started shortly before midnight and targeted US troops at the entrance to the northern town, in front of a restaurant and at a hotel. They did not mention casualties.
The residents of Mosul, 400 kilometres north-west of Baghdad, said it was the first time they had seen such a spate of closely timed attacks on US forces since the Americans ousted Saddam in April.
They called the assaults a response to Wednesday's audiotape message.
A nine-vehicle US convoy was attacked with grenades and rockets about 11.30am at the southern entrance to Mosul, said local resident Mohammad Yunes, 45. He said US forces quickly sealed off the area and brought in reinforcements.
A short while earlier, attackers hurled a grenade at an American military vehicle stopped in front of a restaurant where some soldiers were eating near Mosul University, said Ibrahim Taqqa, an engineer. He sad US troops quickly surrounded the university.
Attackers using grenades and rocket-propelled grenades targeted a local hotel used by American troops shortly before midnight, staff at the hotel told AFP. They said some rooms were destroyed but provided no further details.
Two Iraqi policemen were found dead, their throats slit, on the sidewalk in front of the local US-supported television station around midnight, according to an employee of the station, Samir Abed Rabbo, 50.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz