BAGHDAD, Iraq – An American soldier was killed by an explosive device in Baghdad (search) Monday as the top U.S. civilian administrator said that attacks by saboteurs on Iraq's decrepit infrastructure and oil industry have cost the economy billions of dollars.
U.S. officials said the soldier, from the Army's 1st Armored Division (search), was fatally wounded when the device detonated. He was rushed to a combat hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The military didn't release any other details and it wasn't clear if the blast was the result of a hostile act. The soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
Two soldiers were wounded in a separate incident, after guerrillas attacked their convoy with rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire about 8 miles east of Tikrit (search), 4th Infantry spokesman Lt. Col. William MacDonald said. The soldiers were in stable condition.
Meanwhile, the apparent sabotage of water, petroleum and electrical lines is slowing U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq, L. Paul Bremer (search), the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq, told a U.S. TV news program.
"It's people who do not share the vision of a free Iraq with a vibrant economy the president has set forth and which Iraqis share," Bremer said. "These are probably people left over from the old regime who are simply fighting a rear guard action."
A suspicious fire raged on Iraq's main northern oil export pipeline into Turkey, the U.S. Army said. Accounts varied over whether the blaze was accidental or an act of sabotage. It would take at least 10 days to repair the damaged pipeline, 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman Maj. Jocelyn Aberle said.
Also on Monday, huge fires burned in warehouses in northeast Baghdad where a guard told The Associated Press that 50 gunmen had charged past him, looting spare parts from buses and other state vehicles and setting fires in old tires and buses. Mohammed Jabber said a U.S. Army patrol passed the area about 30 minutes later but took no action.
In the past three months, such attacks have cost billions of dollars in damage, according to Bremer. But he warned that the United States would not be pushed out of Iraq.
"I think these bitter-enders that we are faced with live in a fantasy world, where they think somehow the Baathists are going to come back," Bremer said, referring to members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. "They are wrong. We'll leave when the job is done. They are not going to chase us out, they are not destined to succeed."
Many neighborhoods in the north of Baghdad remained without water a day after a bomb blew an enormous hole in a 5-foot-diameter water main from reservoirs further north.
U.S. troops killed two Iraqis in two separate incidents late Sunday, MacDonald said. In the first, soldiers shot dead a looter southeast of Tikrit after he disregarded warning shots. Another Iraqi was shot and died when his car ran a checkpoint north of Baghdad.
U.S. troops detained three Iraqis and seized a cache of 15 shoulder-fired SA-7 missiles and 26 missile batteries in the town of Baiji, about 125 miles northwest of Baghdad, MacDonald said. Also seized was one rocket-propelled grenade and 72 pounds of plastic explosive, he said.