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Soldier killed, a 2nd wounded in Iraq

Baath members, criminals suspected in several attacks

SHARE Soldier killed, a 2nd wounded in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. soldiers came under fire again on Friday across Iraq, with one soldier shot in the head and wounded while shopping and another killed in an ambush late Thursday night near the southern city of Najaf.

Meanwhile, Army troops searching for two missing soldiers found their Humvee early Friday evening, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The discovery came after soldiers had detained three men for questioning in the case, but the official said the Humvee showed no signs of blood or any immediate clue as to what had happened to the soldiers.

The Army identified the missing soldiers as Sgt. First Class Gladimir Phillippe, 37, of Linden, N.J., and Pfc. Kevin Ott, 27, of Columbus, Ohio.

The latest attacks were similar to those carried out with increasing frequency over the past several weeks, and well beyond the cities just north of Baghdad that were strongholds of support for the government of Saddam Hussein and that generated most of the early attacks.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the attacks did not rise to the level of organized guerrilla warfare. "I don't know that I would use the word," he said after a closed meeting with senators on Capitol Hill.

Rumsfeld said many of the attackers were common criminals, as well as the remnants of Saddam's Fedayeen Saddam and Baath Party.

One of Friday's incidents occurred in Kazimiyah, one of the busiest shopping districts in Baghdad. An area populated primarily by Shiite Muslims, Kazimiyah has been one of the most peaceful neighborhoods of Baghdad and has not been known as a bastion of anti-U.S. hostility.

Yet in Friday's attack, an unknown assailant shot a soldier in the head and badly wounded him while he was trying to buy video disks from a sidewalk vendor.

According to the U.S. Central Command, an Army soldier was killed in a small town near Najaf while investigating a car theft.

There were other violent incidents on Friday. Unidentified attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a logistics convoy near the city of Balad, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, injuring one soldier.

To help the reconstruction effort, five national security policy experts, led by a former deputy defense secretary, John Hamre, left Washington for Iraq this week at the invitation of the Pentagon.

Hamre heads the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which published two detailed reports this year on the rebuilding effort in Iraq. The reports came to the attention of Rumsfeld, who aides said was impressed enough to help arrange the 12-day trip.