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U.S. soldier killed in Baghdad

Coalition troops search vehicles at a checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq, Sunday.
Coalition troops search vehicles at a checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq, Sunday.

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A gunman shot and killed a soldier who was guarding Baghdad University in the city's center Sunday, military officials said.

The soldier from the 352nd Civil Affairs Command had strayed from a larger group and was talking with a local resident when someone walked up from behind and shot him in the back of the head with a handgun, a witness told CNN. The shooting took place around 12:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. EDT), a military spokeswoman said.

According to U.S. Central Command, the soldier died at a hospital.

It was the second such attack in two days, and the third in about a week, all three of which happened in Baghdad. Saturday, Richard Wild, a 24-year-old British journalist, was fatally shot in the back of the head; another U.S. soldier was shot in the head about a week ago.

Prior to Sunday's incident, the United States blamed remnants of Saddam Hussein's government -- Baathists and Republican Guard members -- for attacks that have killed 27 American and six British troops since President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1.

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers told "Fox News Sunday" that much of Iraq is fairly stable, but that there is a "triangle" of lawlessness where fighters opposed to the U.S. presence are staging most of their attacks.

Ninety percent of the now 28 hostile deaths have occurred in the triangle formed by the predominantly Sunni Muslim cities of Baghdad, Tikrit and Ar Ramadi, Myers said.

"That's where our forces are working very hard to rout out the remnants of the Baathist party and other followers of Saddam Hussein that think somehow that they're coming back, which they aren't," Myers said.

"A lot of the country is relatively stable; there are still challenges at Baghdad and in that triangle," he said.

The military is still trying to assess whether the attacks on U.S. military personnel are planned by Iraqis, or whether terrorists from other countries might be behind them, Myers said.

On Saturday, a U.S. soldier was wounded and two Humvees were damaged when a grenade was tossed from an overpass at a U.S. military police patrol in central Baghdad.

That attack came the same day seven U.S.-trained Iraqi police recruits were killed when an "improvised explosive device" detonated in Ramadi, about 75 miles west of Baghdad, according to U.S. authorities.

At least 13 people were wounded in the blast, U.S. military sources in Ramadi told CNN. The recruits had been close to graduating from their training program.

The recruits were walking past a street light from their school to police headquarters at the time, witnesses said. (Gallery: Explosion at Ramadi) The city has strong ties to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his outlawed Baath party.

Many people said they blamed U.S. forces for the explosion, but the local police chief denied that, saying he thought there was an effort to create tension between the U.S. forces and the police.

Bodyguard captured

Sabah Mirza, a former bodyguard to deposed President Saddam Hussein, was captured, and a cache of weapons was seized from his property, Bernard Kerik, a senior U.S. adviser to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said Sunday.

Mirza was detained in Baghdad several days ago; the weapons were taken from his Baghdad property Sunday night, Kerik said.

Mirza and his cache of weapons, including thousands of rounds of ammunition, AK-47 rifles and a number of 60-mm mortar rounds, were discovered after U.S. forces received a tip from an Iraqi, Kerik said.

Turkish soldiers released

U.S. forces have released 11 Turkish special forces troops detained in northern Iraq last week, senior Turkish military sources told CNN late Sunday.

For security reasons, the Turkish forces were taken to an American base in Baghdad, the sources said. They are expected to be taken Monday to the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, where they were captured Friday, the sources said.

The release came after discussions over the weekend between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. (Full story)

Uranium trail

Former U.S. Ambassador to Gabon Joseph Wilson said Sunday he told the CIA and State Department that Baghdad did not try buy uranium from Niger in the late 1990s to develop nuclear weapons. (Full story)

Two months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Bush accused Baghdad of trying to buy "significant quantities of uranium" from an unnamed African country. In his January 2003 State of the Union address, Bush cited a British intelligence "white paper."

"If [Bush administration officials] were referring to Niger when they were referring to uranium sales from Africa to Iraq ... that information was erroneous and ... they knew about it well ahead of both the publication of the British white paper and the president's State of the Union address," Wilson told NBC's "Meet the Press."

CNN Baghdad Bureau Chief Jane Arraf, Producer Kevin Flower and Correspondents Nic Robertson, John King and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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