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Attacks kill US soldier, 3 Iraqis

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BAGHDAD -- Insurgents launched two deadly attacks yesterday in Baghdad, killing an American soldier and wounding a civilian contractor in a mortar barrage on a US base, and injuring three US troops in a coordinated ambush in another part of the capital.

The attacks were among several in Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq after a series of deadly car bombings this week that have unnerved Iraqis before the transfer of sovereignty at the end of this month. Municipal officials said at least 13 Iraqis have died in two days of clashes between US troops and insurgents in the Sunni town of Buhriz, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Three Iraqi civilians died in the Baghdad ambush, which began when a roadside bomb exploded in the city's eastern Kamalaya district, the US command said. Insurgents opened fire from the rooftops. US troops returned fire and the insurgents "sustained moderate casualties," the statement said.

Several hours later, six mortar shells exploded at a First Cavalry Division camp in southern Baghdad, killing a US soldier and slightly injuring a contractor working for Kellogg Brown and Root, the military said.

In Buhriz, US soldiers clashed with insurgents yesterday for a second straight day.

Insurgents also attacked US troops yesterday at a police station in the Sunni Triangle city of Samarra, firing rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs, after warning shopkeepers to close, witnesses said. US troops returned fire, wounding two attackers, residents said by telephone. No US casualties were reported.

In the south, British soldiers traded small arms fire overnight with Shi'ite fighters loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Amarah, witnesses said. No British casualties were reported, but two insurgents were killed.

A coalition spokesman said the smaller of two oil pipelines blasted by insurgents this week had nearly been repaired, although engineers still were examining the larger one.

Spokesman Dominic d'Angelo said tests could begin today on the smaller pipeline, but full exports probably would not resume before Wednesday. Iraqi exports were suspended Wednesday because of the attacks on the pipelines, which carry crude oil from the southern fields to tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Exports from Iraq's other field near Kirkuk were halted last month because of sabotage on the pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey.

The attacks against the pipeline were part of a stepped-up campaign of violence in the run-up to the June 30 transfer of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government. The attacks seem aimed at undermining public confidence as the date approaches.

In the boldest attack in months, a bomber crashed a sport utility vehicle into a crowd seeking jobs at a military recruitment center Thursday in Baghdad, killing at least 35 Iraqis and wounding 145 more people. Another car bombing the same day killed six Iraqi civil defense fighters and injured four others in Balad, north of Baghdad.

The coalition deputy operations chief told Associated Press Radio that in order for the Americans and their Iraqi and international partners to halt the violence, Iraqis must step forward and provide information on the insurgents.

"The sooner we get every person in this country understanding their responsibility to provide us intelligence on those people in their neighborhoods who they believe to be participating in these attacks," the sooner they will stop, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said yesterday.

"We need to get that intelligence from them so we can preempt these attacks."

He said US forces were "working hard to try to develop the intelligence to find" the insurgents.

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