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Separate attacks kill two GIs

Pentagon to issue 'retouched' photos of Saddam

U.S. soldiers guard wreckage Thursday where a U.S. armored personnel carrier hit a land mine in Baghdad.
U.S. soldiers guard wreckage Thursday where a U.S. armored personnel carrier hit a land mine in Baghdad.

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SPECIAL REPORT
• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since late Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said Thursday.

A 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and three others wounded Thursday afternoon when their armored personnel carrier hit a land mine on a Baghdad road, Central Command said.

A 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and two others wounded Wednesday just before midnight in a small-arms attack on a tactical operations center about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Ba'qubah, which is northeast of Baghdad, the command said.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, 51 U.S. troops have died in hostile action in Iraq. A total of 249 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in March. (Interactive: U.S. deaths)

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, coalition ground forces commander, said Thursday that his troops "remain focused" on hunting down ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and pointed to a "significant increase" of intelligence about former regime loyalists.

"We will find him at some point. Wherever the intelligence takes us," Sanchez said.

The Pentagon said Thursday the U.S. military is distributing six retouched photos of Saddam to troops to depict what he might look like nearly four months after his government collapsed. (Full story)

The U.S. State Department said Thursday it would pay a $30 million bounty to the informer who led U.S. troops to Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay.

The sons were killed in a raid in Mosul last week. Coalition authorities were consulting with the Iraqi Governing Council and religious and tribal leaders about what to do with their bodies. (Full story, Profiles: Qusay Hussein, Uday Hussein)

It was unclear how the payment would be made, because the United States wants to preserve the man's identity.

Sanchez said U.S. forces also are targeting criminals, loyalists of Saddam Hussein's regime, Fedayeen Saddam militants and other radical elements.

"We're fighting a low-intensity conflict that is multifaceted," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said foreign fighters have come into the country to fight U.S.-led coalition forces. He declined to identify who they are or their nationalities.

He admitted the opposition is becoming more sophisticated with improvised explosive devices but remains at a rudimentary level in ambush techniques.

"Every incident that we encounter we learn from it," he said. "We adapt our procedures, both in patrolling, and in how we take care of these devices, and also in how to find them."

U.S. forces continue to launch raids and patrols across Iraq to curb the strikes, according to Central Command.

Testimony on weapons

The two top U.S. officials in charge of the search for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction briefed members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed, classified session Thursday. (Full story).

David Kay, senior CIA consultant in Iraq on weapons of mass destruction, and Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, head of the Pentagon's Iraq Survey Group, also were scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After the first hearing, Kay told reporters Iraqis are increasingly cooperative and have led investigators to locations U.S. officials did not know about before the invasion that ousted Saddam.

He said evidence existed that Saddam had an active weapons program but added the United States would not reveal the information until officials "are convinced we have solid proof." (Gallery: Bush on Iraq's weapons, Gallery: The search for WMD)

"This was a program that over 25 years spent billions of dollars, [involved] 10,000 people, was actively shielded by a security and deception plan," Kay said. "It is not something that is easy to unwrap."

Other developments

• Saddam's two eldest daughters -- Rana and Raghad -- are in Jordan under government protection, the country's Information Minister Nabil Sharif said Thursday. The women arrived recently with their nine children. The Jordanian government described the move as a humanitarian gesture. Rana and Raghad are not wanted by coalition forces. (Full story)

Bremer speaks at a ceremony for the refurbished Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad.
Bremer speaks at a ceremony for the refurbished Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad.

• About 2,000 Shiite Muslims took to the streets Thursday in the holy city of Karbala to demand an apology from the United States for violating a sacred shrine and killing an Iraqi during a demonstration Sunday. The demonstrators -- some dressed as suicide bombers with mock explosives -- gathered outside the Shrine of Hussein, one Shia Islam's most important sites, chanting, "God is great, you Muslims. The Israeli army is in front of the Hussein shrine." They called for United States to hand over U.S. Marines involved with the shooting.

• L. Paul Bremer, U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, hinted Thursday that Iraqis could choose their next leader within a year. "The question is how long will it take [the Iraqi Governing Council] to write a constitution and have it approved by the Iraqi people," Bremer said. "But it is certainly not unrealistic to think that we could have elections by midyear 2004."

CNN Baghdad Bureau Chief Jane Arraf and correspondents Rym Brahimi and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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