Attacks on US, Bulgarian Troops in Kirkuk and Karbala; Firefight in Beiji
Guerrillas fired grenade launchers at Bulgarian troops in Karbala and at US troops in Kirkuk on Monday. Early Monday morning grenades fell on a city square where US troops were deployed in the northern, largely Kurdish city. The US took no casualties in the attack. Rioting unemployed Iraqi former military men were dispersed by US troops in Kirkuk, who killed two of them.
In the southern Shiite shrine city of Karbala, a camp used by the 500 Bulgarian troops was fired on around 5 am. Bulgarian troops in Karbala have repeatedly come under fire since they deployed to the city, but have suffered no casualties. They say they expect further attacks as hundreds of Iranian pilgrims come to the shrine city on pilgrimage next week. (al-Zaman, Novinite).
In the oil refining town of Beiji in the Sunni Arab region, the 4th Infantry Division had been pinned down Sunday for 75 minutes by fierce rounds of rpg, mortar and light arms fire. Remnants of the Fedayeen Saddam appear to have been part of the attacking force. As in Baghdad, Basra and Hilla, there had been riots by unemployed soldiers seeking $40 in severance pay from the US on Saturday, which led to the more extreme fighting on Sunday. Iraqi police from nearby Tikrit who tried to come to the rescue could not get close. Only the arrival of US helicopter gunships turned the tide. On Monday the US reinstated a police chief it had dismissed several months before, in hopes he could restore order. He immediately met with clan chieftains to discuss their demands.