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News Briefs

Second Anniversary of Attacks Brings Reflection

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- NEW YORK

Two years after terrorists turned commercial jetliners into missiles bearing down on quintessential symbols of American wealth and power, the nation paused on Thursday to remember the 3,016 fathers and mothers and friends who did not make it home that day.

Ministers in their pulpits and conductors in the subway announced moments of silence. Officials read poems and delivered speeches. Choirs sang patriotic songs. And Americans reflected on the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, on the wars that have followed, and on the enduring losses of 9/11.

Somehow, Thursday was like Nov. 22, 1965, two years after the assassination of President Kennedy, or Dec. 7, 1943, two years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The rawness of emotion was less immediate than on the first anniversary. But there was no shortage of grief.

“Today, again, we are a city that mourns,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at ground zero, the 16-acre site where the World Trade Center stood until Sept. 11, 2001. In 10 terse sentences, Bloomberg introduced and thanked the children helping in the ceremony. “Their world is still in the making,” he said. “As the mayor and a father, I hope it will be a wise and a just world.”

Four U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Hurt In Two Convoy Attacks

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- BAGHDAD, IRAQ

Four U.S. soldiers were wounded and at least two vehicles were destroyed in two attacks on military convoys, one just west of Baghdad and the other in northern Iraq, a U.S. military spokesman said on Thursday night.

The gun battles came on a day when U.S. troops held a series of ceremonies to mark the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which are indirectly responsible for their presence here. The day was mostly quiet in Baghdad, and fears that terrorists would celebrate the anniversary by setting off their fifth truck bomb in Iraq in a month proved unfounded.

But for U.S. soldiers, who are now facing a dozen or more attacks daily, Wednesday was far from quiet. At about 2:30 p.m. in Mosul, in northern Iraq, guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades at a U.S. convoy, wounding three soldiers, according to Sgt. Danny Martin, a U.S. military spokesman. At 5 p.m. in Khaldiyah, about 45 miles west of Baghdad, another attack wounded one soldier and destroyed two vehicles. In both cases, the attackers wielded rocket-propelled grenades as well as small arms, Martin said. He said he did not know if United States soldiers had killed any guerrillas in the attacks.

So far, 288 U.S. troops have died in Iraq or Kuwait since the beginning of the Iraq war, including 150 since President Bush declared on May 1 that major U.S. combat operations had ended.

Khaldiyah, the site of the second attack, is in the “Sunni Triangle,” an area north and west of Baghdad that has been the center of resistance to the American occupation. Sunni Muslim Arabs make up one-fifth of the population of Iraq but have long dominated the country’s political and economic life, and many Sunnis fear that the United States occupation may end that primacy.

But Mosul, where the first attack took place, is in heavily Kurdish northern Iraq, which has been mostly peaceful since Saddam Hussein was ousted from power.

The deaths came as U.S. forces in Baghdad held more than a half-dozen ceremonies to mark the Sept. 11 attacks. The anniversary memorials began at 8 a.m. Baghdad time, which was midnight in New York and Washington, when a fighter jet swooped low over Baghdad, rattling windows here with a show of American might.