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Bremer: Saboteurs 'fighting war they can't win'

Oil pipeline fire extinguished, coalition says

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) -- As apparent sabotage of water, petroleum and electrical lines continued to hamper U.S.-led efforts to return life in Iraq to normalcy, the U.S. administrator for reconstruction in Iraq expressed confidence Monday that the attackers would be halted.

"It's people who are fighting against the liberated Iraq, which most Iraqis welcome," L. Paul Bremer told CNN. "It's people who do not share the vision of a free Iraq with a vibrant economy the president has set forth and which Iraqis share. These are probably people left over from the old regime who are simply fighting a rear guard action."

In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan vowed that "our troops are going after these remnants. They're going after these foreign terrorists and finding them. And they will continue to do that and defeat them wherever they may be."

UNICEF said Monday that it had restored water to a Baghdad neighborhood that had been without it since an explosion believed to be the work of saboteurs damaged a main water pipeline this weekend.

A UNICEF spokesman said water and sanitation workers for the U.N. agency had repaired the pipeline after shutting down a main water treatment plant. The shutdown left about 4 million people -- two-thirds of Baghdad -- without running water for four hours. About 300,000 people in the neighborhood had been without running water since the pipeline explosion Sunday.

Also Monday, a huge fire along an oil pipeline that runs from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port city of Ceyhan -- which also was hit by an explosion over the weekend -- was extinguished, a coalition spokesman said. Officials said it would take five to eight days to reactivate the pipeline.

U.S. officials in Iraq said restoring the oil industry infrastructure and getting Iraqi oil to market is vital to jump-starting the economy there.

In the Karadah district of Baghdad, a 1st Armored Division soldier was killed Monday afternoon by an explosive device, U.S. Central Command reported.

The soldier was evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name is being withheld pending notification of his family.

In the Tikrit area, two U.S. soldiers were injured Monday when their Bradley fighting vehicle drove into a ditch while they were responding to an enemy incident, an army spokesman said. Both soldiers were described as being in good condition.

Just north of Tikrit, a fire that blazed for more than a day in a munitions depot was extinguished Monday morning, the spokesman said.

The fire broke out at 8:30 a.m. [12:30 a.m. EDT] Sunday and was put out at 11 a.m. [3 a.m. EDT] Monday, said Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, public affairs officer for the 4th Infantry Division.

Secondary explosions occurred throughout the night. No coalition forces suffered any casualties, but Iraqi firefighters recovered an unidentified body from the depot, which had been used to store weapons confiscated from Iraqis, MacDonald said.

'We'll leave when the job is done'

Bremer described those behind the sabotage as people out of touch with the current reality in Iraq.

"I think these bitter-enders that we are faced with live in a fantasy world, where they think somehow the Baathists are going to come back, or that the coalition is going to get cold feet and leave," Bremer said. "They are wrong. We'll leave when the job is done. They are not going to chase us out, they are not destined to succeed. We will, over time and with the help of the Iraqi people, we will get hands on them -- either put them in jail or kill them in the course of trying to catch them.

"No doubt, these guys are fighting a war they can't win."

Bremer acknowledged that, during the past three months, such attacks have resulted in billions of dollars of damage.

"This is the third or fourth time a pipeline going north has been attacked, and we've had attacks against the electric power grid constantly almost every week since we've been here."

Bremer said he has beefed up the number of Iraqi security forces guarding those assets, and called condemnation of the attacks by a number of Iraqi officials "a good sign."

Despite the attacks, Bremer predicted that electric power in the country formerly ruled with absolute power by Saddam Hussein would be restored to pre-war levels by the end of September. But it will be a year before the country's electricity demands can be met, he said. "The problem is, Saddam didn't produce enough. We have about 4,000 megawatts of power, and 6,000 megawatts demand."

Bremer also referred to the killing Sunday by a U.S. soldier of Mazen Dana, a cameraman who was working for the Reuters news agency in Baghdad, as "a tragic accident." He added that he had not had a chance to review the investigation.

The soldier mistakenly concluded that Dana's camera was a shoulder-launched weapon and "engaged him," a senior U.S. military official told CNN on Sunday. (Full story)

Other developments

• The U.S. Army surgeon general said Monday that the number of cases of serious pneumonia reported since March 1 among U.S. service members has risen to 18, up from 16 since the last report 10 days ago. Two of the patients have died. The causes of their deaths are under investigation, said Lyn Kukral, a public affairs officer with the office of the army surgeon general. (Full story)

• An audio tape broadcast on Al Arabiya television Monday says Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar are alive and well. The voice -- reportedly that of al Qaeda spokesman Abdel Rahman al-Najdi in Afghanistan -- also calls on Muslims to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. It promised to send more al Qaeda members to help them. CNN has not verified the recording. (Full story)

• In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, British soldiers saved the life of a baby girl found in a padlocked box in the middle of a weapons cache, the British Ministry of Defense said Monday. (Full story)

Baghdad bureau chief Jane Arraf, Pentagon correspondent Chris Plante and producer Marga Ortigas contributed to this report.


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