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U.S. officials: Bremer in earlier ambush

L. Paul Bremer
L. Paul Bremer

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. civil administrator L. Paul Bremer survived an insurgent attack this month on his convoy in Baghdad, U.S. officials said Friday.

U.S. military officials said that the ambush occurred December 6 as Bremer was traveling in an armored civilian vehicle. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was visiting the Iraqi capital that day but wasn't in the party.

Insurgents began the ambush by setting off a roadside bomb, followed by small-arms fire, officials said. The convoy sped off, and no one was hurt, they said.

Officials said the attackers probably did not know the convoy carried Bremer.

"We have reason to believe it was a random, opportunistic attack, not necessarily specifically targeting him," said Dan Senor, a Coalition Provisional Authority official.

Many attacks have happened around Baghdad International Airport, the area near where the ambush took place.

In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, Bremer also confirmed the attack. "As you can see, it didn't succeed," he told reporters.

While in Basra, Bremer met with local political leaders and discussed the recent capture of Saddam Hussein. He also said security is improving in the country.

He said Basra residents "suffered so much and so grievously" and promised that "Saddam will be tried in the Iraqi courts when the Iraqi courts are ready."

Shiite office blast kills woman

An explosion Friday morning destroyed a Baghdad building occupied by Iraq's major Shiite political party, killing a woman and injuring eight others, according to Iraqi police and a Shiite party official.

The building housed the headquarters for Badr Brigade, the military branch of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

An explosive device planted near the building caused the blast, said Mohammed al-Hashimi, an aide to Iraqi Governing Council President Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who is also a party leader.

Several families lived in the building, al-Hashimi said.

Before the U.S.-led war began in March, the ruling Baath Party owned the structure.

Friday's blast was the second attack in three days on the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. A senior party official was killed Wednesday in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device detonated Friday in western Iraq near Hit, wounding two American soldiers on patrol, the U.S. military said. The wounds were minor, the military said, and the soldiers will return to their units in a few days.

Amid the violence, coalition raids continue against insurgent targets.

Soldiers from Task Force "All American" -- the 82nd Airborne Division's and subordinate units -- conducted 170 patrols and a cordon and search of two target areas in Fallujah, a central Iraqi town west of Baghdad.

These sweeps resulted in the capture of 10 insurgent personnel and confiscation of $150,000 and a collection of anti-coalition literature, the U.S. military said.

Other developments

• As many as 3,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade may go to Iraq after the new year, according to U.S. military officials. The troops will spend 120 days in Iraq. In addition, 3,500 troops from the division's 3rd Brigade, now in Fallujah, have been ordered to stay for an additional 60 days, extending their deployment until the end of March.

• Raghad Hussein, Saddam's eldest daughter, said Thursday she believes an international court should handle the case of her recently captured father if he faces trial. (Full story)

• David Kay, the CIA's man in charge of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, likely will leave his post in the next couple of months, before the work is completed, U.S. officials said. They added no final decision has been made. Kay met recently with CIA Director George Tenet and others to discuss the weapons search, while he is in Washington for the holidays, officials said. He declined to comment. (Full story)

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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