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Iraq: More Attacks On U.S. Forces And Iraqis Working With Coalition

Baghdad, 16 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- There have been more attacks today on U.S. forces and Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition. In the latest incident, the mayor of Hadithah and his son were shot dead as they drove through the town west of Baghdad. A U.S. military spokeswoman, Sergeant Amy Abbott, said Muhammad Neil Assaf had stopped at a crossroads when his car came under attack.

Hadithah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, an area near Baghdad where supporters of ousted President Saddam Hussein have frequently attacked U.S. forces.

Earlier today, a U.S. military transport plane came under fire from a surface-to-air missile in what is believed to be the first attack of its kind in Iraq. Abbott said the missile missed its target. Other attacks today left at least one U.S. soldier and an Iraqi child dead.

NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson today said the alliance has no plans for a greater role in postwar Iraq, where U.S. casualties have prompted calls for the deployment of a NATO force.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer also said his country is open to discussions on how to reconstruct Iraq but has no plans to send peacekeeping troops there. Fischer made the remarks following a meeting today with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington.

Fischer noted that Germany was not part of the force that invaded Iraq. He said the United States and its coalition partners are responsible for managing the country. But he said German businesses will eventually be willing to help in the economic reconstruction of Iraq.

Powell said there was no request for German troops during the talks at the State Department.

Fischer's four-day trip follows a visit to Berlin by Powell in May. He was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Berlin since U.S.-German relations soured over German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.