BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb struck a convoy of U.S. officials and civilian contractors on a visit to a construction site in western Iraq, killing a soldier and two U.S. government employees, officials said Tuesday.
A U.S. military statement said two other civilians working for the U.S. Department of Defense were wounded in Monday’s attack near Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
One of the dead civilians worked for the Department of Defense, and the other was identified by the U.S. embassy as State Department employee Terrence Barnich. The casualties’ nationalities were not given.
“We and all who are working for a brighter future for Iraq condemn this terrible attack,” new U.S. ambassador Christopher Hill said in a statement. “We remain committed as ever to helping Iraqis achieve the peace, stability and prosperity that will make such acts of terror a thing of the past.”
Violence in mostly Sunni Arab western Iraq has fallen since it was the hub of a raging insurgency from 2005 to 2007, but militant cells still operate in the vast desert region.
U.S. military officials say some insurgent groups in Iraq, mindful of the loss of public support al Qaeda suffered because of indiscriminate attacks on civilians, are trying to reinvent themselves as fighters who only kill foreign forces, not Iraqis, using more carefully targeted bombs and sniper attacks.
Reporting by Tim Cocks, editing by Mark Trevelyan