Three GIs killed in Baghdad

as 3,700 more arrive for surge

BAGHDAD - Three U.S. soldiers were killed in combat operations in the capital yesterday and two were wounded, according to a statement from the military, on a day when thousands more troops arrived in the country.

Elements of the newly arrived 4th Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., will be deployed around Iraq, according to the military. The brigade, one of the Army's new Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, is the fourth of five additional brigades scheduled to be deployed in Iraq by the end of May. It has about 3,700 soldiers.

The capital seemed largely quiet - only about a half dozen killed by bombs and rockets - until evening when a volley of mortar fire hit the Green Zone where the Americans, the British and many Iraqi government officials have their embassies, homes and offices.

The police recovered 30 bodies in Baghdad, a higher number than had been typical for the past several weeks, an Interior Ministry official said. The number of bodies recovered has been used as a rough gauge of the prevalence of sectarian killings.

In a formal letter to Congress about President Bush's veto of a $124 billion spending bill that set pullout deadlines, the White House wrote: "This legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the presidency by the Constitution, including as commander-in-chief of the armed forces."

Bush was less formal in comments to the Associated General Contractors: "The question is, who ought to make that decision?" he said. "The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear. I'm the commander guy."

Popular former spy officer

wants to be prime minister

JERUSALEM - Israel's popular foreign minister called yesterday on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign - positioning herself to replace him and dealing the toughest blow yet to his efforts to stay in power after a scathing report on his performance in the war in Lebanon.

Olmert said he does not plan to resign, despite the growing number of allies deserting him. After an emergency meeting, his Kadima party also said it would stand behind him.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, 48, had been conspicuously silent since the report on last summer's war came out Monday.

A relative political newcomer and a former officer in the Mossad spy agency, Livni is Kadima's most popular politician. The daughter of an underground fighter in Israel's war for independence, she has quickly risen in politics in recent years and appears to be Kadima's best hope of retaining power.

This week's report capped a six-month investigation into a war that Israelis widely perceived as a failure.

South African historian

has a new 'Ripper' candidate

JOHANNESBURG - An eminent South African historian believes he has stumbled on the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Charles van Onselen said he noticed parallels in the century-old, unsolved Ripper case and the background of Joseph Silver, who terrorized women as "King of the Pimps" in Johannesburg, a city still regarded as one of the most crime-ridden in the world.

The publicity around van Onselen's "The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath," published last month, has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888.

Van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer who specializes in South Africa's criminal history, took nearly three decades to research the book.

Van Onselen believes Silver fits the psychological profile of the killer, and he says Silver's daughter was born in Whitechapel, the center of the scene of the Ripper murders.

As pimp and brothel-keeper, Silver would have been familiar with the prostitutes working in the area, van Onselen said.

Silver, who was born in Poland, arrived in Johannesburg in 1898 fresh from a stint in Sing Sing for burglary and a stay in London a decade earlier. Shortly after arriving in Johannesburg, Silver set up a string of cafes, cigar shops and police-protected brothels.

Silver was litigious, wrote bold letters to newspapers and had an array of mocking aliases, van Onselen said. Jack the Ripper is believed to have taunted police with brazen letters to the papers.

Vandals desecrate grave

of communist hardliner

BUDAPEST - Vandals dug up the grave of Hungary's communist-era leader Janos Kadar yesterday and may have stolen his remains and the urn containing his wife's ashes, police said.

On a memorial to communist leaders near the tomb, someone had written: "Murderer and traitor, you cannot rest in holy ground."

Kadar was installed as Hungary's leader after the Soviet army crushed the 1956 revolution, leaving around 2,800 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops dead. He ruled until 1988 and died in 1989, a few months before the fall of communism.

He and his wife, Maria Tamaska, are buried together at the Kerepesi Cemetery in Budapest.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany - a former communist youth leader who has distanced himself recently from Kadar's regime - condemned the attack as an "abominable, inhumane and cowardly act." *

-Daily News wire services