United States military forces kill 2 insurgents in Ramadi, suicide bomber kills policeman in an assault on commando base

U.S. soldiers backed by warplanes killed two militants in the volatile western city of Ramadi on Monday, while at least one Iraqi policeman died and dozens were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on their commando base south of Baghdad. In Baghdad, the bodies of bound and gagged two men, both riddled with bullet wounds, were found Monday in different locations across Baghdad, police said. The identities of the victims were not known and there was no motive known for their execution-style killings. Gunmen also attacked a construction team erecting a fence in western Baghdad's Amil district at 10 a.m., killing one worker and wounding four, said police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq.

In eastern Ramadi, two armed men fired at least five rocket-propelled grenade rounds and small arms fire at a group of United States Army soldiers, U.S. Marine Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool said. "The soldiers returned fire and called in a jet nearby to attack the insurgents' position with their main gun," Pool said. The two insurgents were killed in the clash, but there were no U.S. casualties.

A suicide car bomber slammed into a commando headquarters were police were training in Nasiriyah, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding more than 30 others, said an Iraqi police official who declined to be identified further due to fears of retaliation from insurgents.

An Italian military convoy was also attacked near the base in Nasiriyah as they were heading to Fuhud, a village about 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the east, to help install electricity infrastructure, a military statement said.

One Italian soldier was slightly wounded in the attack. Italy has a 2,600-member military contingent based in Nasiriyah.

Another roadside bomb targeted a joint Danish-Iraqi patrol near the southern city of Basra, wounding one Iraqi policeman, military officials said.

The attack was the first involving Danish troops since protests flared recently against a Danish newspaper for publishing widely criticized caricatures of Islam's prophet.

The blast happened as the troops crossed a bridge in a rural area about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, police Capt. Mushtaq Talib said.

Danish forces said that the roadside bomb was targeting the Iraqi police rather than the Danes.

"The Danish patrol was about 150 meters (yards) ahead of the Iraqi police car when the bomb went off," said Maj. Kim Gruenberger of the Danish Army Operational Command. "No Danes were hit. Only an Iraqi police officer was injured."

British Maj. Peter Cripps said coalition forces are investigating if there was any link between the attack and September's publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad deemed offensive by many Muslims.

The blast also coincided with increased tensions between Iraqis and British forces following last week's detention of several policemen linked with Shiite militia-related killings and kidnappings.

"The Danish patrols have made no change in activities since the caricatures were published, but clearly they will put some more attention on the local population and how they fell about the Danish presence here," Cripps said.

About 530 Danish troops are in Iraq and are based in the northern part of Basra province, a predominantly Shiite Muslim region that has been calmer than other parts of Iraq, despite periodic spikes in sectarian- and militia-related violence.

The 12 drawings included one showing Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Another portrayed him with a bushy gray beard and holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. A third pictured a middle-aged prophet standing in the desert with a walking stick in front of a donkey and a sunset.

The images sparked wide protest across Iraq and throughout the Islamic world. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry, reports the AP.


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