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Bombings in Iraq kill two U.S. soldiers

Four others are wounded in the two roadside attacks.

May 27, 2008|Ned Parker | Times Staff Writer

BAGHDAD — Two U.S. soldiers were killed in a pair of roadside bombings over the weekend, the U.S. military announced Monday.

One soldier died in a bomb blast Sunday night in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, that left two other soldiers wounded, the military said. No further information was immediately provided.

The province has a predominantly Sunni Arab population. Many Sunnis who previously fought Americans have formed an alliance with the U.S. military in the last year, but other Sunni fighters, often affiliated with the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq, have continued to fight U.S. forces.

The second bombing occurred Sunday afternoon in Qadisiya province in southern Iraq. One soldier was killed and two others wounded when the blast ripped into a patrol just west of the province's capital, Diwaniya, the military said.

Southern Iraq is largely populated by the country's Shiite Muslim majority. The sect includes some militants who have attacked U.S. forces in hopes of driving the Americans out of Iraq.

The U.S. Army also announced that a third soldier died Saturday of noncombat-related causes. The military gave no further information.

The deaths, announced on Memorial Day, raised the U.S. military's fatalities in Iraq to at least 4,082 since American-led forces invaded the country in March 2003, according to icasualties.org, an independent website that tracks military casualties.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle in Tarmiya, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, tried Monday to blow up the house of a Sunni tribal leader, Sheik Said Jassim, whose son heads a Sunni paramilitary unit that fights alongside the Americans.

Two policemen, a member of the unit and a civilian were killed when the bomber detonated his explosives at the last checkpoint about 60 yards from the sheik's house, said a Sunni member of the paramilitary group.

In west Baghdad, a car bomb blew up near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the Shiite neighborhood of Hurriya, leaving one Iraqi soldier dead and 11 wounded, an Interior Ministry official said.

In northern Iraq, security forces found six teenagers and a number of explosives vests in a house in Mosul, the official said.

The boys told authorities that they had been kidnapped by armed men who threatened to rape them or kill their families unless they carried out suicide bombings and other attacks, the official said. There was no confirmation of the allegations from the American military.

The Iraqi military has conducted operations to round up suspected Sunni militants this month in Mosul, which the U.S. military considers Al Qaeda in Iraq's last urban stronghold in the country.

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ned.parker@latimes.com

Times staff writers Saif Rasheed and Usama Redha contributed to this report.

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