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2 US Soldiers Killed, Occupation Bombards Tikrit

2 US Soldiers Killed, Occupation Bombards Tikrit in A Show of Force after Shooting Down of A Chopper

Another black day for American occupation troops capped six days of deadly anti US attacks. Two US occupation soldiers were killed and another was injured in the flashpoint town of Fallujah Saturday morning, when their convoy hit an improvised explosive device, leaving at least one military vehicle on fire.

The deaths came after an American Black Hawk chopper was confirmed shot down over Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit on Friday killing all six soldiers on board. A Chinook transport helicopter was earlier shot down near the flashpoint town of Fallujah, killing sixteen occupation soldiers and injuring another twenty six.

The first Chopper to be attacked, a Black Hawk, was knocked down on October 25th by a rocket propelled grenade over Mosul, injuring one US soldier according to the occupation military command.

Observers say that such new attacks have raised alarm that the assailants fighting styles have developed after they had carefully watched the Americans' methods and tactics over the last half year, and are now starting to flex their muscles. Buildings were demolished as heavy weapons fire pounded the Tikrit area.

Retaliating to the helicopter shoot down, American troops backed by Bradley fighting vehicles swept through Iraqi neighborhoods before dawn Saturday, blasting two abandoned houses and a warehouse suspected of being fighters' hideouts with machine guns and heavy weapons fire.

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Soldiers taking part in the operation said the raids on civilian neighborhoods, were designed as a show of force in wake of the shoot down. Before the infantry raid into Tikrit, U.S. troops late Friday fired mortars and a U.S. jets dropped at least three 500- pound bombs around the crash site, rattling windows over a wide area.

Occupation soldiers detained a man believed to be a former bodyguard of Saddam Hussein during a raid Saturday in Kirkuk. However the name of the alleged bodyguard was not revealed.

Earlier of Friday US soldiers raided houses in the village of Maydan northeast of Baghdad detaining forty people among which was a suspected arms dealer described by the commander of the raiding unit as "height value target."

During the course of the raid, a young boy was shot by the soldiers as he and five other kids attempted to flee fearing arrest. An ICRC spokesman Florian Westphal announced Saturday the International Red Cross is temporarily closing its offices in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra following the bomb attack on its headquarters in the capital last month. The attack on the Red Cross was reminiscent of a similar bombing on the UN headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, which killed 22 people, forcing the United Nations to later pull its foreign staff out of Iraq.

But the ICRC insisted afterwards that it would not withdraw completely from Iraq and remained committed to providing help there. For its part, Turkey said it had abandoned plans to send troops into

Iraq after Washington failed to win the backing of Iraq's interim leadership. Turkey's decision reverses what had been a significant victory for Washington. And US State department Spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States is currently talking with other nations who might consider deploying troops.

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