U.S. Soldier Killed in Accident; Reward Offered for Attackers

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A blistering series of attacks, coming nearly hourly, wounded seven U.S. soldiers in Iraq (search) on Tuesday, and the United States offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who kills a coalition soldier or Iraqi policeman.

The reward is aimed at stemming an insurgency that has plagued efforts to restore security and basic services. Last week, the U.S.-led provisional authority put a $25 million bounty on the head of Saddam Hussein (search), and a $15 million reward for the capture of either of the ousted dictator's two sons.

"I urge the Iraqi people to come forward to take these people off the streets of the country," former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik said in announcing the $2,500 reward.

Kerik, who is in charge of security in Iraq, also said U.S. forces and Iraqi police had arrested Sabah Mirza, who was a bodyguard for Saddam in the 1980s before being fired. A raid on Mirza's farm after his June 26 arrest netted plastic explosives, mortars, a machine gun and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier attached to the 101st Airborne Division (search) was killed in what the military said was a non-combat gunshot wound near Balad, 55 miles north of the capital, the military said Wednesday. The soldier's name was withheld pending notification of next-of-kin, and no further details were available.

On Tuesday, U.S. soldiers raided a building in central Baghdad, following up on a claim by residents who say they thought they saw Saddam driving through the area Monday to cheers and celebratory gunfire.

During the sweep, several residents chanted pro-Saddam slogans and others sang: "With our souls and our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you Saddam."

The last reported sighting of Saddam was April 9 in the Azamiyah neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad as the capital fell to the U.S.-led coalition.

L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in Iraq, said the coalition would not rest until Saddam's fate was determined.

"He may be alive, but he is not coming back," Bremer said. "I think the noose is going to tighten around his neck. His days in Iraq are finished."

Tuesday brought fresh attacks in what has become a bloody and uncertain peace for coalition forces.

Insurgents dropped a homemade bomb from a bridge onto a passing U.S. military convoy in Baghdad, wounding two soldiers. Another two soldiers were injured when their vehicle struck a land mine in the capital, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a military spokesman.

In Kirkuk, 175 miles north of the capital, assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a military convoy, wounding three servicemen. The patrol returned fire, but there was no word of Iraqi casualties or arrests.

Witnesses said three Iraqis -- including a 13-year-old boy -- were killed following a grenade attack on a police station in a Baghdad suburb. Witnesses told Associated Press Television News the soldiers returned fire, but that those who died had not attacked the police station.

Late Monday, insurgents fired mortars at a base near Balad, 55 miles north of the capital, the military said. U.S. forces subsequently caught 12 of the suspected attackers.

Since President Bush declared major combat in Iraq over on May 1, 29 U.S. servicemen have been killed by hostile fire and 44 others have died in accidents and other non-hostile circumstances, a total of 73.

When Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1, the number killed in action stood at 114, according to figures released Tuesday by the Pentagon.

Also Tuesday, the U.S.-appointed governor of the Shiite Muslim city of Karbala resigned after allegations of financial improprieties, the U.S. military governor said. Ali Kammouna, 31, had been the governor of Karbala since May.

The governor of Najaf, another Shiite holy city, was arrested and removed from his post earlier after he was charged with corruption and kidnapping.

Two Arabic television stations aired an audiotape purportedly of Saddam Hussein that they claimed to be new. But journalists familiar with the tape said it sounded remarkably similar to an audiotaped message that surfaced in May.

In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq and dismissed concerns he had overplayed the threat posed by Saddam in the run-up to the war. And the White House acknowledged Bush was incorrect when he said in January that Iraq recently had sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa.