2 soldiers, 3 Iraqis injured in grenade attack in Baghdad


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Five people were injured yesterday when a man dropped a grenade on U.S. soldiers delivering mattresses to a university dormitory in Baghdad, and two Arab television networks broadcast videos of masked fighters calling for continued armed uprisings against occupation forces.

None of the injuries in the grenade attack was serious, but it illustrated that even goodwill missions here are fraught with danger.

In Basra, demonstrators angry over electricity blackouts and long lines for expensive fuel pelted British soldiers with rocks yesterday in a second day of protests, a confrontation that seemed to mark a drastic change in the relatively tranquil city. A demonstrator and a security guard were killed.

Elsewhere, the U.S. military said a 3rd Corps Support Command soldier died of heat stroke while traveling in a convoy near the southern city of Diwaniyah on Saturday. Officials also said that a soldier was found dead in his bed Saturday but that the cause of death had not been determined.

The U.S. soldiers targeted by the grenade were part of a 1st Armored Division detachment that was restoring a looted Baghdad University dormitory.

The grenade was dropped from an upper floor as Pvt. Mohammed Aziz was being interviewed by an Al-Jazeera television crew near the ground-floor entrance. Two soldiers and three Iraqi workers helping transport the mattresses were hurt. The soldiers sealed off the building, evacuated occupants and interrogated all male occupants, but no arrests were made.

Yesterday, Sen. Richard G. Lugar, an Indiana Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on NBC's Meet the Press that the United States should seek a resolution of support from the United Nations to "give us more legitimacy" in Iraq.

While urging the administration to seek financial support from other countries, the senator also called on President Bush to propose a five-year budget for operations in Iraq that "indicates our resolve."

Meanwhile, one of the videos released yesterday, broadcast on the Al-Arabiya network, showed a group of five armed fighters who said they were associated with organizations called White Flags and Muslim Youth.

They promised more attacks on U.S.-led forces but condemned Thursday's car bombing at the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, which killed 17 people.

The other tape, shown on Al-Jazeera, included a group of four fighters who identified themselves as members of the Iraqi Resistance. They disassociated themselves from Saddam Hussein's regime and criticized it for offering too little resistance to the U.S.-led invasion.

If authentic, the Al-Jazeera tape would indicate that Iraqis who opposed Hussein's government, and not just regime loyalists, might be fighting the U.S.-led occupation.

In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, sabotage, smuggling and infrastructure problems have all but cut the electricity in recent days as temperatures have risen higher than 100 degrees. Fuel has also been in short supply. The electricity problems have interrupted refinery operations, and large-scale smuggling of crude oil and diesel has diverted supplies, primarily to neighboring Kuwait.

Two main generators at the Basra oil refinery broke down Saturday, adding to the crisis.

Yesterday, tankers were delivering fuel to gas stations, heavily guarded by British tanks to ward off hijackers. Still, in some parts of the city, lines stretched for a mile or more, forcing people to wait at least 12 hours. As those waiting grew more frustrated, protests erupted.

Rioters targeted British military vehicles and foreigners, pelting their cars with rocks and bricks. Roads were blocked with rocks, tree trunks and burning tires. One British military jeep was burned.

In Turkey yesterday, a top general said the military is ready to serve in a multinational peacekeeping force in Iraq.

The announcement by Gen. Yasar Buyukanit at a cocktail party for journalists in Ankara could help ease public opposition against contributing to the U.S.-led operation. As a largely Muslim country, Turkey could help the United States gain support in the Islamic world for its occupation of Iraq if Ankara joins in the peacekeeping.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Times staff writer Robyn Dixon in Basra, special correspondent Ammar Fadhil in Baghdad and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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