BAGHDAD, Iraq – Attacks on American soldiers in Iraq continued through the weekend, claiming the lives of three troops in less than 24 hours, the U.S. military said Monday.
Also, four U.S. soldiers were wounded late Sunday after attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their convoy in the town of Ramadi (search), 60 miles west of Baghdad, during a joint patrol of 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (search) and the 1st of the 24th Infantry. One Iraqi suspect was killed and another wounded in the attack.
The U.S. military also announced the end of a seven-day sweep dubbed Operation Sidewinder (search), in which 30 Iraqis were killed and 282 detained while 28 U.S. soldiers were wounded. The operation was aimed at rounding up Iraqi regime insurgents. The military said it confiscated ammunition stocks and hundreds of weapons.
The wave of attacks came as U.S. troops on patrol and Iraqi police and civilians perceived to be working with the occupying forces were being targeted for daily assaults by insurgents. But the deadly shooting of a British journalist and a bombing of a U.N. building has some concerned that the attackers are widening their targets and now going after any Westerners.
In the latest deadly attack on American troops, a soldier was killed when insurgents threw a homemade bomb at his vehicle in a military convoy early Monday morning in the Kadhimiya (search) district of Baghdad.
A second U.S. soldier was killed around 9:30 p.m. local time Sunday after two armed assailants opened fire on his convoy, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a spokesman for the military. The Coalition Press Information Center (search) said the soldier was killed while his unit was pursuing gunmen through the Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad. One Iraqi was also killed in the gunfight. The wounded suspect was taken into custody.
Both of the dead American solders were from the Army's 1st Armored Division (search), the Germany-based division which is charged with occupying Baghdad. They were in different convoys.
With ambushes, shootings and bombings taking place daily -- blamed on Saddam Hussein loyalists and other disgruntled Iraqis -- 30 American soldiers have been killed by hostile action since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1.
Despite increasing attacks against Americans, no extra troops are needed there now, Gen. Tommy Franks, the war's retiring commander, said Monday. "The sense that I have right now is that it's not time to send in additional troops," he told ABC's Good Morning America. "We want ... to continue to move forward with establishing security by working with the Iraqis."
Earlier Sunday, an assailant shot and killed a U.S. soldier waiting to buy a soft drink at Baghdad University, firing once from close range. The soldier from the Army's 1st Armored Division was evacuated to a combat support hospital but he later died.
The killing was similar to that of killing of British freelance cameraman Richard Wild, 24, who was shot in the head outside a Baghdad museum on Saturday. The assailant fled into the crowd and was not apprehended.
An assailant with a pistol shot and critically injured a U.S. soldier in the neck on June 27 as he shopped on a Baghdad street.
On Saturday, a bomb blast in the western town of Ramadi killed seven Iraqi police recruits as they graduated from a U.S.-taught training course. Dozens more were injured. Tension has increased in the town since then.
The U.S. military blamed the attack on pro-Saddam insurgents seeking to target those working with the Americans, but many in Ramadi said they thought the Americans themselves were behind the incident.
Ramadi, one of several Sunni-majority towns along the Euphrates River west of Baghdad, was a stronghold of support for Saddam, and has been the site of frequent attacks that have killed Americans as well as Iraqis.
U.S. Army Maj. William Thurmond said it was too early to tell whether a pattern was emerging that would suggest insurgents are targeting foreign civilians, but he said such a strategy could thwart news-gathering and humanitarian relief efforts.
"Hopefully they're isolated events and we won't have to face them in the future," Thurmond said. "It might work to the advantage of someone who's trying to fight the coalition."
On Saturday, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the United Nation's International Organization for Migration office in Mosul, 240 miles northwest of Baghdad.
"There's no place for that in any civilized part of the world," Thurmond said. "As soon as we get hold of them, they're gone. We'll find them. We'll attack them. And if necessary we'll kill them."
Meanwhile, the United States agreed Sunday to release 11 Turkish special forces detained during a raid in northern Iraq -- ending a standoff that strained efforts by the NATO allies to repair relations frayed over the Iraq war, a Turkish official said.
The Turkish soldiers will spend the night at a guest house in Baghdad and will be handed over to Turkish officials in Sulaymaniyah "at daylight" Monday, the high-level government official said on condition of anonymity.
The announcement came after Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (search) spoke to Vice President Dick Cheney for about half an hour on the phone Sunday.
In other news:
-- An Australian NBC News sound engineer, Jeremy Little, died Sunday at a military hospital in Germany from complications following surgery for wounds he suffered June 29 in a grenade attack in Fallujah, NBC News said. Little, 27, was wounded when insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the military vehicle in which he was riding.
-- A group calling itself Wakefulness and Holy War claimed responsibility on Sunday for attacks on U.S. troops in Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim-dominated town 35 miles west of Baghdad. "We are carrying out operations against the American occupation here in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities," said the statement, released on Iran-financed al-Alam TV in Baghdad. "Saddam and America are two faces of the same coin."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.