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Posted: 7/2/2003 8:25:04 AM EDT
FALLUJAH, Iraq (July 2) - U.S. soldiers took to the streets of Fallujah on Wednesday hoping to convince Iraqis they were not behind a deadly mosque explosion, but enraged residents vowed holy war to drive them out of town. "We will fight a holy war until the last drop of blood. Even boys who are 10 years old will fight until their last drop of blood," said an Iraqi man standing at the al-Hassan mosque, which was hit by an explosion on Monday night. Residents said the blast killed nine people, including the mosque's imam, or prayer leader. They said it was the result of a U.S. air strike. The American military flatly denied that, and said Wedesday the blast was triggered by a bomb-making class inside the building. ''The explosion was apparently related to a bomb manufacturing class that was being taught inside the mosque,'' the U.S. Central Command said in a statement. American troops launched a public relations campaign in Fallujah on Wednesday to distance themselves from the mosque explosion. Two rocket-propelled grenades were fired at U.S. military vehicles in the town on Tuesday night. The U.S. military in Fallujah said nobody was hurt. Residents of Fallujah, a hotbed of Sunni Muslim anti-U.S. sentiment, predicted more attacks against American soldiers. At least 23 of them have been killed in Iraq since major combat was declared over in May after U.S.-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein. Snaking through dirt roads, a small U.S. psychological operations unit stopped to talk to workers at a truck garage. Sgt. Jason McGinn, from Seattle, Wash., failed to persuade Iraqis that a missile could not have hit the mosque because the whole building and several homes would have been destroyed. "We would never hit a mosque. People have fired at us from mosques and we do reserve the right to defend ourselves. But we did not hit the mosque," he said through a translator. HOLY WAR Iraqis told him the mosque's imam, Sheikh Leith Khalil, had called for jihad, or holy war, against U.S. troops during Friday prayers and that was why U.S. fighter planes bombed the site. McGinn said U.S. military officials had met Khalil and urged him to stop inciting jihad. Worshippers said Khalil died of his wounds from the mosque blast on Tuesday. The dialogue underscored the challenge for U.S. troops struggling to ease anti-American sentiment in Iraq, especially in places such as Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad. U.S. troops have faced resistance to their occupation from Fallujah and other towns in central Iraq, Saddam Hussein's former power base before he was toppled on April 9. Some resentment is fueled by growing frustration with the U.S. failure to restore water and electricity. McGinn promised Iraqis that U.S. forces were doing their best to revive those services in Fallujah, a town of 250,000 people. "We don't want your services. Just get out of Fallujah," an Iraqi man shouted at McGinn. Growing anger at the U.S. presence in Fallujah has created an ideal climate for wild rumors. A group of men gathered to mourn the death of Abdel Raouf Ibrahim, who was killed in the mosque explosion. But they spent more time venting their anger than mourning. "Did you hear an American tank ran over and killed four Iraqis on their way to the hospital the other day," said one. The men, twirling worry beads through their fingers, smiled proudly when 11-year-old Ali Younis expressed his opinion on the U.S. troops patrolling his town. "We will kill them," he said. 07/02/03 10:09 ET Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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He, such tactics work for the Palistinians, why should Saddams followers not copy them?
Link Posted: 7/2/2003 8:48:17 AM EDT
Have you ever heard of Mohammed al-Dura?
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