| A US soldier escorts a man arrested in Baghdad for stealing power cables. (Reuters)
Ramadi, July 7 (Reuters): The gruesome death of an Iraqi whose head was shot off inflamed anti-American rage in the volatile town of Ramadi today after a night of armed attacks which wounded four US troops.
Several Iraqis gathered around his bullet-ridden car where a piece of skull lay among the shattered windshield glass on the floorboard.
Another crowd walked past pools of blood at Ramadi General Hospital and watched a doctor pull plastic sheeting off his corpse that was punctured by bullets they said were fired by US troops occupying the town, around 100 km west of Baghdad.
“You will see what will happen to the Americans now. You will see what we will do to them,” hospital administrator Taha Hussein said.
Two American soldiers were also killed and four wounded elsewhere in Iraq overnight in a spate of guerrilla attacks.
The latest violence in Iraq indicated American occupation forces were facing guerrilla warfare in Sunni central Iraq, once the cradle of support for Saddam Hussein. The fatalities brought to 29 the number of US soldiers killed in action in Iraq since President George W. Bush declared major combat over on May 1.
On Saturday, seven recruits to a US-backed Iraqi police force were killed in Ramadi when a remote-controlled bomb exploded outside a police station.
Ramadi is part of a mainly Sunni area to the north and west of Baghdad where US forces have faced much of the most violent resistance to their occupation of Iraq.
“The Americans are terrorists. They don’t respect us. They enter our houses and frisk our women. They handcuff us at checkpoints and step on our necks,” said Abu Mohsen.
“Now look at this. They just shoot at cars and kill innocent people,” he said pointing to the body of the decapitated man on a stretcher outside the morgue.
The circumstances surrounding the death of the man, identified by a hospital official as Ibrahim Himoud, were unclear.
Iraqi witnesses said US troops brought him to the hospital and said he was shot after running a checkpoint. They also said a second civilian was killed.
A US military spokesman said the decapitated man was caught in the crossfire after six Iraqi assailants ambushed an American position and it was not clear who shot him.
A spokesman in Baghdad said four soldiers had been wounded in the ambush.
“At about that time, one of our vehicles was attempting to impose a roadblock. A Toyota truck approached. One of the men in the Toyota truck was shot and killed. The other was detained for questioning,” Captain Michael Calvert said.
The mortar attack on Sunday night was the fifth in Ramadi in seven days, said Calvert. Rocket-propelled grenades have been the weapons of choice in recent weeks.