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Three Killed, Five Wounded in Fallujah Clash

A homemade bomb hit a patrol from the 82nd Airborne Division in the city of Fallujah, 38 miles west of Baghdad. After the bomb exploded, Americans came under attack by small-arms fire. In response, Americans raided a nearby mosque in a search for attackers. They held three Iraqis.

Fallujah, part of the “Sunni Triangle” north and west of the capital is home to Hussein’s tribal network, where many of the attacks on U.S. forces have been carried out.

On Sunday, a U.S. Army ammunition truck caught fire after it broke down in the area. The truck was part of a convoy that was hit by rocket-propelled grenades. Dozens of Iraqi youths danced and cheered as the vehicle caught fire, according to the Associated Press.

“I was fixing my car on the other side of the street, and Americans fired in a circular motion as they tried to leave,” said Thaer Ibrahim, 30, who was wounded by U.S. fire.

There were no American casualties on Sunday, but four civilians were wounded and one died later, according to a hospital official.

Also on Sunday, Iraq’s interim leader, Iyad Allawi, called for a mobilization of the soldiers of Iraq’s old army to help Americans. He said the United States could help “speed the process of relieving the burden on its troops” by calling on Iraq’s former soldiers.

The Americans are building a new Iraqi army, but it is only 700-strong thus far.

On Saturday, two U.S. soldiers were killed and one wounded in fighting outside of Kirkuk. An American patrol was ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, according to Major Josslyn Aberle, a 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat in May, 104 Americans have been killed by hostile fire, and 339 Americans have died since March 20 — 218 in combat, the AP reported.

American officials have blamed the continued violence on loyalists to the Baath Party, Hussein’s former regime, but others have said resentful Iraqis have joined in the attacks on the U.S. military.

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