Commander: Attacks 'Stepped up' against U.S.
The top military commander in Iraq on Thursday said that Saddam loyalists have “stepped up” their attacks against U.S. forces in the past week and there “is absolutely no question in my mind” that American soldiers and their Iraqi supporters killed in recent ambushes were victims of “professional assassinations.” Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez blamed pro-Saddam Fedayeen militias and Special Republican Guard soldiers for the attacks on U.S. troops. His comments came after the deaths of two more soldiers in Iraq. Sanchez told reporters it’s a top priority for his forces to determine the status of Saddam and his two sons Uday and Qusay. Whether Saddam “is dead or alive is making an impact on the people of Iraq and the ability to cooperate with the coalition,” he said. Two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday in separate attacks in Iraq as their convoys came under fire, one near Tikrit and one south of Baghdad near al-Mahmudiyah. At least 79 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since Bush announced an end to major fighting May 1. Of those, 32 have been killed by hostile fire and 47 were victims of non-hostile fire or accidents. Full Story