Iraq oil, water lines struck

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In a turbulent 12 hours yesterday, a pipeline supplying much of Baghdad's water was blown up, a huge new fire was set off along an oil pipeline and a mortar attack on a prison left six Iraqis dead and 59 wounded.

The attacks raised new concerns that the insurgents who have been singling out U.S. soldiers may be widening their strikes to include civilian targets and economic sabotage.

The sabotage of the water pipeline was the first such strike against Baghdad's water system, city water engineers said.

It took place about 7 a.m. yesterday when a blue Volkswagen Passat stopped on an overpass near the Nidaa mosque and an explosive was fired or thrown at the 6-foot-wide water main in the northern part of Baghdad, said Hayder Muhammad, the chief engineer for the city's water treatment plants.

The break left residents with little or no water most of the day in about 10 neighborhoods covering a large part of the city.

The oil pipeline fire occurred near the spot in northern Iraq where saboteurs on Friday blew up another part of the pipeline, which carries Iraqi oil into Turkey.

The mortar attack occurred about midnight Saturday at Abu Ghraib, a prison that became notorious during Saddam Hussein's rule for its terrible conditions and for the torture and execution of political prisoners.

Some of its prisoners are suspected of being part of the violent insurgency against U.S. forces by members of the former government. Shortly before midnight, three mortar shells were fired into the prison compound, where inmates were being held in tents.

At the prison yesterday afternoon, a Reuters cameraman, identified as Mazen Dana, was shot and killed by a soldier, a spokesman for the occupation said. Reuters reported that Dana, 43, a Palestinian, had been filming outside the prison when he was shot by a U.S. soldier in a tank.

Wounded prisoners interviewed while recovering at a military field hospital 15 miles west of Baghdad said they were eating dinner or chatting in tents at the prison when a volley of mortar shells struck the camp.

"It was as if someone threw me up into the air and threw me back down again," said Yusif Aziz, 43, who suffered shrapnel wounds to his head and shoulder. Doctors said bits of shrapnel remained lodged in his brain. "I couldn't understand what was going on. Everyone was shouting and screaming."

U.S. military officials said they do not know who was behind the attack.

Samir Sumaiday, a member of the interim governing body, the Iraqi Governing Council, blamed Iraqi guerrillas who have been trying to undermine Iraq's reconstruction through almost daily attacks on U.S. forces and acts of sabotage.

"These people who are attacking water and oil pipelines and jails, if that's their strategy, I can't understand it because they are only hurting Iraqis," Sumaiday said. "They just want to create mayhem and chaos."

Iraqi and U.S. reconstruction officials said over the weekend that the explosion Friday that shut down the oil pipeline to Turkey was sabotage, but Iraqi workers on the scene said it was too soon to determine a cause. There was a second fire Saturday about a half-mile from the first blast.

Acts of sabotage pose a major roadblock to U.S. efforts to restore normality to Iraq.

Saboteurs have targeted the country's power grids, disrupting electricity and fueling discontent among Iraqis in the midst of a torrid summer. Attacks on oil pipelines rob the country of export revenue it needs to help pay for its reconstruction.

The explosion Friday shut down the 600-mile oil pipeline from the northern city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast. The blast came two days after Iraq's Oil Ministry resumed exports through the pipeline for the first time since the end of the war.

Coalition spokesman Charles Heatly said yesterday that "it was clear to us at an early stage that [the pipeline fire] was indeed an act of sabotage, even if the final results of the investigation are not conclusive."

L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. civil administrator in charge of Iraq, said explosions like the one that occurred Friday cost Iraq an estimated $7 million in lost revenue each day. Coalition officials said it could take up to two weeks to repair the breaches.

Meanwhile, Baghdad officials said they expected to complete repairs by late yesterday on the water main rupture.

"This was an act of sabotage," Assam Othman, chief engineer for the area's water system, told Reuters. "It does not hurt the Americans; it hurts ordinary Iraqi people."

Coalition officials say they have 5,500 Iraqi security personnel guarding oil pipelines and refineries. An additional 6,500 will be hired through a contract awarded to an international security company.

While many attacks on infrastructure are blamed on Hussein loyalists and guerrillas opposing the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, some are the work of smugglers, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said last week.

Smugglers are toppling power line towers, stripping the copper and smelting it, Sanchez said.

A U.S. military spokesman said the smuggling of copper from power lines was behind a gunbattle that ended in the death of a Danish soldier Saturday.

The soldier was on patrol with other Danish troops and was trying to arrest eight Iraqi copper smugglers when he was shot and killed. Two Iraqis were killed, and the other six were arrested.

The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune contributed to this article.

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