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Pentagon Sources Say U.S. Reviewing Military Strategies in Iraq

Aired June 27, 2003 - 20:17   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Pentagon sources say the U.S. is reviewing its military strategies in Iraq. The news follows the wounding of a U.S. soldier in Baghdad again today. It is the latest in a string of attacks against U.S. forces.
Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has more on the continuing violence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Balad (ph), 40 kilometers north of Baghdad, U.S. troops search for two comrades missing since Wednesday. Six Iraqis have so far been detained for questioning over the abduction of the soldiers from their isolated checkpoint.

MAJ. WILLIAM THURMOND, COALITION SPOKESMAN: The investigation does continue and we hope as a result of what we're finding we'll be able to recover our missing soldiers.

ROBERTSON: Meantime, in this Baghdad market, another U.S. soldier was attacked. According to a store holder, the soldier stopped to buy a DVD and was shot in the head at close range.

"I showed an American soldier this film" he says. "He took the U.S. dollars out of his pocket and as I looked at the money I heard a bang. He froze and then fell backwards."

Two hours drive south of Baghdad, near Najaf, no sign on the road where a U.S. soldier was killed investigating a reported car theft on Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pushed probably a little bit further than we normally would and when they arrived there and the local police stopped, so did our military police and they were fired on. It looked like a coordinated ambush and they returned fire.

ROBERTSON: For the slain soldier's friends, his killing and the current state of attacks on coalition troops raises concerns with families back home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to explain before I came here that everything is going to be OK but now this incident well they are so nervous and, you know, my mother is crying, my sister and all my family is crying.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: Since President Bush's May 1 declaration ending major conflict, 20 U.S. servicemen and 6 British soldiers have been killed in hostile action, and in the last few weeks, attacks against coalition forces appear to have become better coordinated causing an increased number of coalition casualties.

However, U.S. officials here say that in their opinion the losses at this time are not militarily significant; that is, they do not degrade the force's capability here to perform the duties they need to perform -- Paula.

ZAHN: Nic Robertson, thanks so much.

I should say that the Army has not identified two soldiers who went missing in Iraq on Wednesday. Sergeant First Class Gladimir Philippe and Private First Class Kevin Ott disappeared with their Humvee in Balad, a town north of Baghdad. A U.S. military spokesman says: "We don't know if they were abducted or killed."

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