Chaos Erupts in Parts of Central Iraq


Gunmen running rampant on Baghdad’s western edge attacked a fuel convoy, killing a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi driver and causing a fiery explosion. A Baghdad correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arab television said at least nine people were killed.

Another U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a base elsewhere in the capital, and large groups of insurgents battled U.S. troops in two cities to the north, Baqouba and Muqdadiyah.

One Marine was killed in Fallujah and another wounded in exchanges of fire after U.S. forces called a halt to offensive operations in the city, a spokesman said.

The death — along with those of three Marines a day earlier announced Friday — brought the toll of U.S. troops killed across Iraq this week to 46. The fighting has killed more than 460 Iraqis — including more than 280 in Fallujah, a hospital official said. At least 647 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

The heavy fighting for Fallujah was prompted by the March 31 slaying of four U.S. civilians there. Their burned bodies were mutilated and dragged through the streets by a mob that hung two of them from a bridge.