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Baghdad streets flood after pipeline explosion

U.S. spokesman: No group to blame for recent acts of sabotage

U.S. troops inspect a water main while Iraqis cool off in a flooded highway underpass Sunday.
U.S. troops inspect a water main while Iraqis cool off in a flooded highway underpass Sunday.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Half of Baghdad is without running water and streets have flooded after a pipeline exploded Sunday from an apparent act of sabotage, military officials said.

The water pipeline burst in the Adamiya neighborhood, coalition spokesman Charles Heatley told reporters.

Two oil pipelines have also exploded and caught fire in Iraq this weekend. Although all three pipelines seem to have been sabotaged, Heatley said military officials don't believe the attacks were the work of an organized group.

The U.S. military is investigating eyewitness reports that the second oil pipeline was deliberately set on fire.

U.S. Central Command said pilots reported the fire northwest of Mosul, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The first pipeline, running from an oil field near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port city of Ceyhan, was sabotaged and set aflame Saturday, apparently by supporters of deposed President Saddam Hussein.

U.S. administrators say restoring the oil industry infrastructure and getting Iraqi oil to market is vital to jump-starting Iraq's economy.

Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadbhan told reporters Saturday that the explosion occurred at 3 a.m. [7 p.m. Friday EDT] about 12 miles [20 kilometers] north of an oil-pumping station in Beij and caused it to rupture.

The fire was under control, but it will take five to seven days to repair the damaged pipeline, Ghadbhan said.

No suspects have been identified in the explosion, he said.

"The oil pipeline and natural gas and various other pipelines have been exposed to many other incidents over the last three months," Ghadbhan said.

Before the war, U.S. and British military planners anticipated that Iraqi forces would try to ignite and sabotage the oil-producing infrastructure as coalition forces advanced toward Baghdad.

U.S. and British Special Operations units went to some lengths to secure the oil fields in southern Iraq before they could be torched, and were largely successful in halting the effort.

A small number of oil wells in southern Iraq were set ablaze by Iraqi forces but were quickly extinguished after coalition forces secured the areas.

Other developments

• At least six Iraqi detainees were killed in a mortar attack Saturday on a jail outside Baghdad, U.S. military officials said. A U.S. Army spokesman said 59 Iraqis were wounded in the attack on Abu Ghraib prison, Reuters reported. The Iraqi governing council said the death toll was 10.

• A Reuters cameraman was shot and killed Sunday while filming near the prison, the news agency reported, quoting witnesses. Reuters identified the cameraman as Mazen Dana, a 41-year-old Palestinian who had worked for the company for 10 years. A spokesman for Iraq's U.S.-led administration said an investigation into Dana's death was under way. (Full story)

• A Danish soldier was reported to have become the first coalition soldier from a country other than the United States or Britain to be killed since the start of the war that toppled Saddam's regime. A British army spokesman told Reuters the Dane had been trying to arrest looters who were stealing copper cables. (Full story)

• Two U.S. soldiers were shot and wounded Saturday as they left a Baghdad restaurant, according to the coalition officials. They were treated at a nearby military medical facility, and their wounds were not life-threatening. According to the latest figures, U.S. forces have suffered 267 deaths since the start of the war -- 174 combat deaths and 93 deaths in "nonhostile" situations. One hundred twenty-nine U.S. troops have died since President Bush declared an end to major fighting in Iraq on May 1 -- 58 of them in hostile action and 71 nonhostile.


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