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Bush vows to finish job in Iraq

U.S. probes Fallujah blast that killed six Iraqis

Bush makes remarks at a presidential re-enlistment of service members in the East Room of the White House Tuesday.
Bush makes remarks at a presidential re-enlistment of service members in the East Room of the White House Tuesday.

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U.S. forces still have their hands full in Iraq as and the casualty count on both sides climbs.
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CNN's Jane Arraf on an explosion that caused damage near a mosque in Fallujah.
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CNN's Jamie McIntyre on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's defensiveness about violence against U.S. troops.
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CNN's Nic Robertson on Operation Sidewinder, aimed at crushing Saddam Hussein supporters.
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• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
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(CNN) -- With attacks on American forces mounting in Iraq, President Bush vowed Tuesday that the United States is committed to establishing a democracy in the country, saying "there will be no return to tyranny in Iraq."

Bush accused "scattered groups" of Saddam Hussein loyalists, terrorists and foreign fighters of attacking coalition forces and trying to intimidate Iraqi civilians.

The groups also have destroyed power lines and electrical towers, set off explosions at gas pipelines and ignited sulfur fires, Bush said.

"These groups believe they have found an opportunity to harm America, to shake our resolve in the war on terror and to cause us to leave Iraq before freedom is fully established," Bush said during a White House re-enlistment ceremony for service members. "They are wrong, and they will not succeed."

The president said those threatening order would "face ruin just as surely as the regime they once served." He said the rebuilding of Iraq will be a "massive and long-term undertaking." (Full story)

Since Bush declared the end of major combat May 1, 23 Americans and six British soldiers have been killed in attacks blamed on remnants of Saddam's ruling Baath Party and other groups.

Pentagon officials confirmed Tuesday that the two U.S. soldiers whose remains were recovered Saturday had been shot. The officials did not say if the wounds caused their deaths, nor was other information released about their capture or treatment. (Full story)

Six soldiers hurt in Baghdad attacks

The latest hit-and-run attacks against American targets in Baghdad left six soldiers wounded and an Iraqi interpreter dead Tuesday.

Three soldiers were wounded, two critically, when a rocket-propelled grenade slammed into their Humvee near Al-Mustansiriyah University in central Baghdad, military officials said. The interpreter died in that attack. Three soldiers were wounded in another attack in west Baghdad, officials said.

An explosion early Tuesday killed at least six Iraqis near a mosque in the central town of Fallujah, according to U.S. Central Command. Witnesses said four people also were wounded.

The blast destroyed a building inside the mosque compound. The mosque apparently was not seriously damaged. Some Iraqis at the scene said a U.S. missile or bomb caused the blast, but the U.S. military said it was investigating whether explosives were stored in the building.

One witness who blamed the U.S. military said of the attack: "After late prayers we heard the shaking in the mosque. We heard a helicopter overhead and a whooshing sound, and then the building was destroyed."

In a statement, Central Command said soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division arrived on the scene after a U.S. aircraft spotted the explosion.

Fallujah, west of Baghdad, has been a center of support for the former Iraqi regime and the scene of violent encounters between Saddam loyalists and the U.S. military since April.

U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer attributed the persistent attacks to "desperate" remnants of Saddam's regime and indicated that rumors that a U.S. attack caused the Fallujah explosion were the product of "disinformation" rife on the streets.

"None of this is surprising and unexpected," Bremer said, referring to the attacks. "We mean to show the Iraqi people that we will not let a small remnant of die-hard opponents to freedom have their way in this country and harm the Iraqi people."

Meanwhile, Central Command said Tuesday coalition troops and Iraqi police had continued aggressive patrols throughout the country during the past 24 hours, detaining scores of people, and confiscating weapons and ammunition.

The 4th Infantry Division conducted 25 raids in support of Operation Sidewinder in 24 hours, resulting in the detention of 25 people, including 11 whom the United States had specifically targeted. The operation is designed to root out paramilitary fighters linked to the recent deadly attacks.

Other developments

Soldiers from the U.S. 1st Armored Division stand vigil Tuesday in Baghdad.
Soldiers from the U.S. 1st Armored Division stand vigil Tuesday in Baghdad.

• The provisional government in Iraq invited airlines Tuesday to apply for permits to provide commercial air service to the war-wracked capital, a sign that Baghdad's international airport is near reopening.

• U.S. troops arrested the interim governor of Najaf on kidnapping and corruption charges Monday as they continued efforts to quell attacks on coalition troops, U.S. officials said. Abu Haydar Abdul Mun'im is accused of kidnapping and holding hostages, pressuring government employees to commit financial crimes, attacking a bank official and stealing funds, according to a statement from the U.S.-led provisional authority.

CNN Baghdad bureau chief Jane Arraf and correspondents Chris Plante, Nic Robertson and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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