Wednesday, August 06, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq Aug. 4 —
The U.S. military bused 400 volunteers for the new Iraqi Army north to the city of Kirkuk to begin two months basic training Monday, and American forces passed a third straight day without losing a soldier in combat.

According to the military authorities in the Iraqi capital there had not been a U.S. soldier killed in action since late Friday night.

The new Iraqi army recruits were taken to Kirkuk and on to a U.S. base under heavy guard for fear of attacks on the convoy of red and white buses by the Iraqi resistance fighters. The insurgency has killed 52 American soldiers since May 1, when U.S. President George W. Bush declared major fight was over.

The recruits sent north Monday make up about half the first batch that was to begin training under U.S. instructors this month. More than 12,000 Iraqi soldiers were scheduled to be ready for service by year's end and 40,000 by the end of 2004.

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