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Wedeman: Another attack on U.S. soldiers in Iraq

CNN's Ben Wedeman
CNN's Ben Wedeman

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Another U.S. soldier was ambushed Friday in Iraq. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack, which took place in a Shiite neighborhood near Baghdad.

CNN's Ben Wedeman in Baghdad spoke with CNN anchor Heidi Collins about the attack.

WEDEMAN: The attack took place in the Sadr City neighborhood. That's a northern suburb of Baghdad, a very poor Shiite neighborhood where one U.S. soldier was killed, four were wounded, in addition to a civilian interpreter who was working with those soldiers.

That area actually has been very unstable for quite some time. But there haven't been a lot of attacks on U.S. forces there because that Shiite area has long been very hostile to the former regime of Saddam Hussein and most people there had actually welcomed U.S. troops initially.

But as the situation in Baghdad becomes more difficult with electricity cuts, with water cuts, with many other services unavailable, people are becoming frustrated and the level of anger toward the U.S. presence is rising.

Now, another development in Baghdad. There has been a series of fires set around the capital. My cameraman and I spent a long time running around the city basically going from one fire to another -- as they [the fires] were just going in various parts of the town. In several cases, there were warehouses, some of them old and no longer in use, in fact, in areas that had been subject to intensive looting.

But I spoke with the head of the Baghdad civil defense who told me that it's clear that many of these fires were set by arsonists.

COLLINS: Well, Ben, just wondering ... we see quite a few people there trying to put those fires out. I mean we've got people looting them and then people trying to put them out.

Are these Iraqi civilians? Any idea at this point who they would be?

WEDEMAN: Well, actually, it doesn't appear that there's much looting going on because there's nothing left to loot. It does appear to be a case of straight arson. And, in fact, the head of civil defense told me that several people had been brought in for questioning. It's not known who's behind it.

But what we do know is that -- and there's a fire going on just up the street from here -- that this [the fires] is something of a sudden development. We have had fires on a fairly regular basis, but none as common and as frequent as they are today.

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