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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
US soldiers die in Iraq attacks
US soldier waves away Iraqi man on outskirts of Baghdad
US forces have been subjected to an increasing number of attacks
Attacks on US forces in Iraq have left two soldiers dead and several injured, in the latest in a series of incidents against US troops in the country.

In the first attack, the US military said that gunmen fired assault rifles, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades at a convoy of the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment convoy near the town of Haditha, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) north-west of the capital, Baghdad, killing one soldier and injuring another.

Only hours later a landmine killed another soldier and injured three more on a US military vehicle on the outskirts of Baghdad.

US Central Command said in a statement the vehicle ran over what appeared to have been a landmine or an unexploded shell, and said the blast appeared to be a result of "hostile action".

A US military position in a town north of Baghdad was also hit in a grenade attack.

No-one was reported hurt, although US soldiers shot dead a woman reportedly hiding grenades who was walking towards them, Reuters quoted a US military statement as saying.

And in town of Baiji, near Tikrit, the ancestral home of Saddam Hussein, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, but the device failed to explode and no injuries were reported.

'De-Baathification process'

US forces have been subject to several attacks in Iraq in recent days, adding to fears of growing lawlessness in the country.

There's no doubt that bringing a nation back to life is not easy and we have had lots of difficulties, and we will have more in the days ahead
Major General Tim Cross

On Monday the deputy head of the Anglo-American administration in Iraq said that there were too few troops in the country to bring order.

Major General Tim Cross, the British number two in the Office of Reconstruction and Human Assistance, said there were particular problems in Baghdad although he insisted they were being addressed.

However the top civilian administrator, American L Paul Bremer, said the administration was doing what it could to improve conditions for Iraqis in Baghdad.

"We take it seriously. That is why we are spending so much time and energy trying to fix it," he told reporters in Baghdad on Monday.

He said that conditions for people outside Baghdad were generally better than in the capital.

He also said that he was establishing a "de-Baathification council" to help root out the influence of former leader Saddam Hussein's party.

And he said $250m had been recovered when vaults at the Central Bank of Iraq were drained of river water.

The US official charged with establishing a new Iraqi police force has warned that it may take some time for law and order to be re-imposed.

Bernard Kerik, a former New York city police commissioner who arrived in Iraq just under a week ago, said many officers would have to be retrained and new ones would have to be recruited.

Difficulties ahead

Major General Cross admitted to being surprised at Iraqi behaviour.

"The whole regime over 30 years had really made such a huge impression on people in Iraq that I for one had underestimated that," he said.

"I was surprised how people would just not move without some form of authority.

"There's no doubt that bringing a nation back to life is not easy and we have had lots of difficulties, and we will have more in the days ahead.

"But things are definitely getting better."

The BBC's correspondent in Baghdad, Richard Miron, says the city is still a dangerous place with few people venturing out after dark.

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