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Bomb Attacks Kill Four U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad
Sun Mar 14, 2004 04:27 AM ET
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By Andrew Marshall

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bomb attacks in Baghdad killed four U.S. soldiers, the Army said on Sunday, bringing to nine the number of troops killed in Iraq in the last four days by explosives planted by guerrillas to target American patrols.

A military spokesman said a roadside bomb blast in southern Baghdad around 10:45 p.m. (1945 GMT) on Saturday killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded one.

Another bomb attack at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday wounded an American soldier who later died in hospital, the spokesman said.

On Saturday, a bomb was detonated as a U.S. patrol passed in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Guerrillas then opened fire. Two soldiers were killed and several wounded.

Two bomb attacks on Wednesday and Thursday in the restive "Sunni triangle" around Baghdad killed three soldiers.

Since the start of the war to oust Saddam, 389 U.S. troops have been killed in action in Iraq -- 274 of them since Washington declared major combat over on May 1 last year.

Most of the deaths in recent months have been caused by roadside bombs, which the U.S. Army calls "improvised explosive devices." The low-tech bombs, often made from artillery shells crudely wired to a detonator, have taken a deadly toll.

The U.S. military says most insurgents fighting occupying forces are still Iraqi, but that foreign militants are playing an increasing role in planning and executing major attacks.

Last Tuesday, two U.S. civilians seconded from the Department of Defense and their Iraqi translator were shot dead in an ambush on a road south of Baghdad. They were the first American employees of the U.S.-led civilian administration to be killed in Iraq since the fall of Saddam.

A senior coalition official said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation had assigned a team to investigate the killings of the two, named as Fern Holland, 33, a lawyer, and Robert Zangas, 44, a press officer.

The U.S. military said six people had been detained in connection with the incident and that four of them were believed to be legitimate members of the Iraqi police force.

U.S. forces have been hiring and training Iraqis for the police for several months in the hope they will eventually be able to take over responsibility for security.

There are now about 70,000 police on duty countrywide, many of them new recruits, but others former members of Saddam's security forces.


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