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Iraq: Explosion In Al-Fallujah Mosque Kills Five, Injures Four

Al-Fallujah, Iraq; 1 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An explosion rocked a mosque late last night in the western Iraqi town of Al-Fallujah, killing at least five Iraqis and injuring four others. Iraqi civilians said the blast was caused by a bomb or a missile, but U.S. soldiers at the scene say the explosion was likely to have been caused by explosives within the mosque.

Sergeant Thomas McMurtry said "the physical evidence" does not support the allegations of a missile strike. He said if the explosion was caused by a bomb or missile there would be evidence of shrapnel.

McMurtry said U.S. Army disposal personnel had scanned the wreckage and saw no evidence of a missile strike. The identity of the Iraqi victims remains unclear.

Meanwhile, reports say that a U.S. soldier was lightly wounded today, when a U.S. convoy was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade near Baghdad airport.

Yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the U.S. military is dealing forcefully with loyalists of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who he blames for recent violence and disorder in Iraq.

"The remnants of the Ba'ath regime and the Fedayeen death squads faded into the population and have reverted to a terrorist network," Rumsfeld said. "We are dealing with those remnants in a forceful fashion, just as we have had to deal with the remnants of Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan."

Rumsfeld said he expects more attacks on coalition forces. He said the troops are facing a task similar to what U.S. forces are undertaking in Afghanistan.