The attack capped a weekend of violence in Iraq that included a roadside bombing of an American convoy that killed another U.S. soldier, deadly suicide attacks on Iraqi police stations and a missile strike on a corporate cargo jet.
Gunmen reportedly shot the soldiers in Mosul in the middle of the day as they drove a civilian vehicle between U.S. garrisons. A mob reportedly then dragged the soldiers from the vehicle and beat them before stealing their clothes and personal belongings.
The New York Times, citing military officials and local news services, reported that the soldiers’ throats were slashed and their bodies were “pummeled” by the mob. However, the U.S. military later retracted this part of the report, saying the two soldiers had not been beaten or pummeled with rocks, the Times reported Tuesday.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s deputy director of operations in Iraq, refused on Monday to provide details of the attack.
“It is our policy that we do not go into specific details on injuries sustained by soldiers,” Kimmitt said. “We’re not going to get ghoulish about this.”
Earlier on Sunday an American soldier was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle in Baqubah, 30 miles north of Baghdad.
On Saturday a DHL cargo plane reported being struck in the wing by an object before making an emergency landing at the Baghdad airport. Witnesses reportedly said two missiles were fired at the plane. No one was hurt in the attack. The U.S. provisional authority in Iraq has suspended all commercial flights.
As many as 13 Iraqi policemen and six civilians were also reportedly killed by gunmen and suicide bombers in separate attacks in towns northeast of Baghdad on Saturday, The New York Times reported.
Military officials have said the situation in Iraq is under control in spite of the attacks.
“We have nothing at this point that causes us to be concerned,” Kimmitt said of the weekend violence, according to The Washington Post. “This is not an enemy that can defeat us militarily.”
President Bush referred to the violence in Iraq on Monday while at the Pentagon for the ceremonial signing of a $401.3 billion defense authorization bill.
“We face enemies that measure their progress by the chaos they inflict, the fear they spread and the innocent lives they destroy,” the president said.
“America’s military is standing between our country and grave danger,” he added.