Pro-Saddam rallies erupt, Iraqis killed
Tuesday 16 December 2003, 20:21 Makka Time, 17:21 GMT
Iraqi police patrol restive areas where protesters rallied against Saddam's capture
US forces have killed 16 Iraqis during separate incidents as demonstrations in support of Saddam Hussein erupted across the occupied country.
US forces shot dead 11 Iraqis they said were preparing a "complex ambush" in the western Iraqi city of Samarra, according to a military statement on Tuesday.
There were no casualties among occupation soldiers in Monday's incident, the statement said.
Occupation forces alleged that Iraqi fighters used children leaving school as a cover to attack the US patrol, which apparently used snipers and "successfully suppressed" the Iraqi attack.
US soldiers also returned fire in response to further attacks in the city, 100km north of the capital. No casualties were reported.
Military sources added that another five Iraqis were shot dead in Falluja and Ramadi on Monday.
Witnesses said hundreds of residents protesting Saddam's capture overran the office of the US-appointed mayor in Falluja.
Meanwhile, a US patrol north of the city was apparently attacked by roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. Soldiers returned fire, killing two Iraqis, said the military. However, independent media reports said those killed were demonstrators.
About 500 protesters had gathered in Ramadi and Iraqi fighters apparently fired at US forces in the city, wounding one soldier. Occupation forces then killed two of the attackers and wounded two others.
In a separate incident, 30 Iraqi fighters opened fired at a patrol. US soldiers fired back, killing one of them.
Celebrations that erupted in Baghdad and elsewhere on Sunday at the news of Saddam's capture, appeared to dissipate.
Pro-Saddam rallies are spreading
Protesters in support for Saddam have cast doubts on claims by the US-led coalition that the people of Iraq universally welcomed his capture.
In the ousted leader's hometown of Tikrit, about 700 people demonstrated against his capture on Monday, chanting "Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood."
US soldiers and Iraqi policemen yelled back: "Saddam is in our jail."
On Monday, also, one protester was said to have been killed in Tikrit in clashes that broke out between baton-wielding occupation forces and students, reported our correspondent.
In the northern city of Mosul, one policeman was killed and another seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting after a demonstration by 1000 students protesting against Saddam's capture on Tuesday.
An Iraqi policeman said four members of the Site Protection Force (SPF) were wounded by stones hurled by protesters. The violence erupted after police fired warning shots to disperse the demonstration.
And in the northern city of Kirkuk, US soldiers shot and killed one Iraqi overnight as he was walking in the street, said police. A second was seriously wounded when a US convoy opened fire near a petrol station.
Meanwhile, more than 200 people marched in central Baghdad against the deposed leader and to call for elections.
"One Islamic nation! Congratulations, the people of freedom!"
they called over a loudspeaker with their fists raised.
In related news, one US soldier died when a convoy was struck by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad on Tuesday, said military sources.
Three more US soldiers were injured, two seriously, in an explosion in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, about 160km north of Baghdad, they said.