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Two GIs Are Killed in Iraq; Churches Bombed in North

Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page A18

BAGHDAD, Dec. 7 -- The U.S. military said Tuesday that two servicemen were killed in Iraq. A soldier was killed by small-arms fire while on patrol in Baghdad, and a Marine died in a vehicle accident in Anbar province in western Iraq. The province, home to the restive cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, has been the site of persistent clashes with insurgents. Military officials said three Marines were killed in Anbar on Sunday.

In the northern city of Mosul, insurgents bombed two churches, although there were no fatalities. The first bomb struck a Chaldean church about 5 p.m. It was followed by another blast 15 minutes later across town that struck an Armenian church.

Men survey damage to a bombed Chaldean church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul; 15 minutes later, insurgents set off explosives at another church. (Namir Noor-eldeen -- Reuters)

Residents realized a car near one of the churches was rigged with explosives before it detonated.

"We did not know what to do," said Sami Dahhan, 24. "There are no police to go to. People started throwing stones at the car to try to detonate it, but they couldn't. The car just exploded when the timer went off."

Mosul, with a population of 1.2 million, is home to many of Iraq's Christians, who make up about 3 percent of Iraq's population.

-- Anthony Shadid

© 2004 The Washington Post Company