Insurgents Step Up Attacks in Iraq
Also Tuesday, the military reported that a U.S. Marine was killed in action Monday in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. The military released no further details.
To the south of Baghdad, six soldiers from eastern Europe were killed on Tuesday while disposing of ammunition from an Iraqi depot in the Polish-run occupation zone, wire services reported from Warsaw.
A Polish military spokesman said three Slovaks, two Poles and one Latvian were killed in the weapons-disposal operation near the town of al-Suvariya.
Prime Minister Marek Belka expressed condolences to the families of the dead, but said the accident would not affect Poland's resolve to keep its troops in Iraq as long as needed.
"This is a most honorable and noble way to die, though for the families of the victims this is small comfort," Belka told a news briefing.
"This is certainly not an event that will make the continuation of our mission easier. But of course we cannot speak of a direct reaction, even to such a dramatic event, when it comes to how long we will remain in Iraq," he added.
He said Polish forces had immediately suspended all ammunition-disposal operations and would review their procedures following the explosion.
"The soldiers were working on destroying ammunition stocks from Saddam Hussein's army," said Col. Zdzislaw Gnatowski, spokesman for Poland's General Staff.
"They're removing munitions from depots and detonating them, and while they were unloading them from a vehicle something exploded, most likely an air-launched bomb."
Poland has one of the largest contingents in the U.S.-led coalition, with 2,400 troops.
Fred Barbash reported from Washington.
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