BAGHDAD, Iraq – A U.S. commander warned of a surge in attacks against coalition forces before a July 1 deadline to transfer authority to Iraqis, and cautioned that strikes might not end even if troops kill or capture Saddam Hussein.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez' (search) comments Sunday came as guerrillas killed a U.S. soldier with a roadside bomb in northern Iraq.
A soldier from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division (search) died Sunday and two others in his unit were wounded when rebels detonated a bomb as a their convoy drove through the center of Mosul at midday, Master Sgt. Kelly Tyler said.
"I heard an explosion and came running toward the site of the attack and saw three soldiers, one of them covered with blood," said Bahaa Hussein, a student. Mosul is 250 miles north of Baghdad.
Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said attacks could surge ahead of a July 1 deadline for a transfer of authority from the U.S.-led coalition to a transitional Iraqi government.
"We expect to see an increase in violence as we move forward toward sovereignty at the end of June," Sanchez said.
"The killing or capturing of Saddam Hussein will have an impact on the level of violence, but it will not end it," he said. "It won't be the end-all solution."
After a daylong trip to Iraq on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (search) said he wants senior commanders in Iraq to consider whether the Pentagon underestimated how many U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces would be needed before a sovereign Iraqi government takes over next summer.
He said he worried that the current goal of 220,000 Iraqi security forces may not be able to be increased later if need be.
"I worry that budgets will begin to get committed, and we may not know if we need more until sometime, for example, in February or March or April," Rumsfeld said on the flight to Washington, arriving early Sunday. By then, he said, the money might not be available.
The number of Iraqis now in uniform is now said to be about 140,000, many of whom were rushed through training programs. Rumsfeld sees the buildup of those forces as the key to completing the military mission there in the aftermath of Saddam's deposed dictatorship.
In Baghdad, the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division sent almost 1,500 soldiers on a sweep through the capital's al-Mansour district, raiding apartment buildings and detaining 43 people, including a dozen suspected guerrillas. The raids netted 215 AK-47 rifles, 10 grenades and bomb-making gear.
Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council gave different versions of progress on a statute that would establish a war-crimes tribunal that could try Saddam and his top aides.
One member, Mahmoud Othman, said the council had reached agreement on the statute and planned to send it to the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, on Monday for his signature. But another, Yonadam Kanna, said negotiations were continuing.