The U.S. military on Friday reported two more deaths, while a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a town hall northern Iraq, killing two other people but causing no injuries to U.S. troops inside.
The suicide bomber struck at 11 a.m. in Riyadh, about 16 miles west of Kirkuk, said police Col. Sarhat Qadir.
Some American soldiers were inside the town hall at the time of the explosion, but were unhurt.
Since the U.S.-led war on Iraq last year, suicide bombers have targeted Iraqi government buildings, police stations, headquarters of political parties and religious gatherings, killing hundreds of Iraqis.
Two more deaths
In Baghdad, meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed an American soldier and wounded another, the military said. The soldier killed in the attack was from the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division, the military said.
Separately, a U.S. Marine was killed Thursday “as a result of enemy action” in Anbar province on Thursday, according to a statement from Camp Fallujah, the Marine base in the area.
U.S. Marines are responsible for security in Fallujah, the site of Wednesday’s ambush of four contract workers, but the military did not say whether the Marine was killed in the city.
U.S. officials promised punishment for the culprits of Wednesday’s attacks “at the time and place of our choosing.”
Also Friday, a senior Fallujah cleric, Sheik Fawzi Nameq, condemned the attacks.
“Islam does not condone the mutilation of the bodies of the dead,” Nameq said in his sermon.
About 600 worshippers gathered at the Hmood al-Mahmood Mosque in Fallujah, just a few blocks from the site of the ambush, to hear his sermon.
City officials told to turn over killers
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of U.S. military operations in Iraq, pledged to hunt down those who carried out the killings, but said clashes could be avoided if Fallujah city officials arrest those responsible.
“If they were to deliver these people to the criminal justice system, we will come back in and start the rebuilding of Fallujah. That is their choice,” he said.
Police manned regular roadside checkpoints Friday, and there was no sign of U.S. troops in or around the city, where a mood of defiance remained despite the possibility of U.S. military retaliation.
However, those living on the outskirts reported some families had left their homes for the safety of relatives’ dwellings deep inside the city. Traffic was heavy and shops were open.
“Islam bans what was done to the bodies, but the Americans are as brutal as the youths who burned and mutilated the bodies,” said Mahdi Ahmed Saleh, a 61-year-old retired primary school principal who runs a grocery store.
Mohammed Mikhlef, a 45-year-old contractor, added: “We just do not know what the Americans will do now. But, by God, they are capable of so much cruelty.”