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U.S. soldier killed, one wounded in Baghdad attack

Soldiers were collecting weapons before ambush

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One U.S. soldier was killed and another seriously wounded Tuesday after unknown attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at them as they operated a U.S.-led weapons-collection point in southwest Baghdad, officials said.

The two paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division were evacuated to a field medical facility for treatment. One soldier died of his injuries, according to a U.S. Central Command statement. The wounded soldier was listed in critical condition.

According to the statement, the soldiers were manning the weapons-collection point when a van with four passengers stopped in an alley about 250 meters [825 feet] away. Two attackers exited the van, and each fired a rocket-propelled grenade [RPG] at the squad. One RPG struck a vehicle, and the other fell short of the soldiers' location.

Eyewitnesses said the attackers fled down the alley. U.S. forces increased patrols and searches in an effort to find the assailants.

"These are pretty unorganized attacks, and it makes it very hard to track down the people who do them," a U.S. military official said.

The names of the injured and deceased are being withheld pending notification of their families.

Coalition forces are operating weapons-collection points throughout Baghdad under an amnesty program, according to Central Command.

Soldier killed Sunday in Qaim

Late Sunday, a U.S. soldier was killed by small-arms fire at a traffic-control point in Qaim, according to a statement on Central Command's Web site.

An undetermined number of assailants pulled up to the checkpoint, near Iraq's border with Syria, in a vehicle and requested help for a "sick" person in the car, the Army said. Two people armed with pistols then got out of the vehicle and shot the soldier, the statement said.

Soldiers at the checkpoint returned fire, killing one assailant and capturing a second, and at least one other assailant fled in the vehicle, the Army said.

Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, told CNN on Thursday that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is still alive, and is organizing and funding the attacks on U.S. troops. (Full story)

As of May 1, when President Bush announced the end of the war, 33 U.S. troops have been killed by hostile fire, according to Pentagon officials.

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