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U.S. Cites Drop In Attacks Since Buildup in Iraq; Bombs Kill 20

"We profoundly regret when any innocent civilian is killed or injured," the statement said, adding that the incident was being fully investigated.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car bomb targeting a police patrol killed three civilians and injured 12, said Brig. Gen. Abdel Karim al-Jubory, a police spokesman. And in Tikrit, police found a roadside bomb and took it to a police building after they thought they had defused it. But the device exploded, killing a member of the police bomb squad and injuring three, police said.

In eastern Baghdad, Forward Operating Base Rustamiyah was hit by 12 rockets early Sunday. No serious injuries were reported, but some vehicles and buildings on the base were severely damaged, including several trailers that house soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Tex.

"Inches and seconds," the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sauer, said as he surveyed the damage to his trailer from the rockets' concussions after the 25-minute attack. The trailer was ruined. The ceiling and walls were caved in, and a large refrigerator was on its side after being thrown halfway across the room. The toilet and sink were in pieces, and everything Sauer owned was either ruined or coated in dirt and dust.

After the first rocket exploded, he threw himself on the floor between his bed and a wall, he said, and during a lull in the attack he crawled through the debris and made his way to his battalion headquarters, where windows and doors had been blown out.

Now, the attack over, he stood outside his trailer staring at a hole in the ground where one of the rockets had struck. "See that bug?" he said, watching a type of large bug that is ubiquitous in Rustamiyah crawling across the crater. "A week ago, I would have crushed it. But it's Sunday . . . so I'm going to let it live."

Special correspondents Zaid Sabah and Dalya Hassan in Baghdad, Dlovan Brwari in Mosul and other Washington Post staff in Iraq contributed to this report.

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