U.S. Troop Toll In Iraq Tops 1,900

In this picture made available by the US Army, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005 Lt. Col. Christopher Gibson, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, stands in the shade on a deserted street during a break while patrolling with Company A in Tall Afar, Iraq, Monday Sept. 19, 2005.
Four U.S. soldiers attached to the Marines were killed in two separate roadside bombings near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, the military said Tuesday, raising the number of American forces who have died in Iraq since the start of the war to 1,903.

The soldiers died in attacks on Monday during combat operations in the volatile western Iraqi city, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the military said.

The victims were U.S. Army soldiers attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The names of the victims were not released.

Meanwhile in Mosul a suicide car bomber rammed a U.S. convoy, killing four Americans and wounding two others.

A U.S. official said the victims were a Diplomatic Security agent and three private security guards attached to the U.S. Consulate in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city.

Two weeks ago, a roadside bomb killed four private American guards who worked as security agents for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in Basra.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for that attack.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. military has arrested two men it claimed were doctors aiding insurgents, blocking militant plans to set up a medical clinic for their fighters. Military officials said seven other suspected insurgents were captured around Baghdad, five of whom were caught Monday at a security checkpoint and two others in a raid Tuesday in the capital.
  • Iraqi lawmakers charge that hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for reconstruction are either being stolen or squandered, with a focus on former Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan. Shaalan moved to Jordan shortly after he was replaced in office when a new government was formed following parliamentary elections in January.
  • British armored vehicles broke down the wall of a jail in the southern city of Basra during a raid to free two British soldiers who were later found in the custody of local militiamen elsewhere in the city. Britain's defense minister on Tuesday defended the raid as "absolutely right."

    After the day of violence in Basra on Monday, British authorities said their soldiers were being held illegally and that their captors had refused an order from Iraq's interior minister for their release. The commander of the operation to free the pair sought to minimize the extent of destruction at the jail.

    "Minor damage was caused to the prison compound wall and to the house in which our two soldiers were held," said Brig. John Lorimer, commander of the 12 Mechanized Brigade.

    Daylight pictures from the jail Tuesday showed a concrete wall broken through, several cars crushed — apparently by armored vehicles — an a number of prefabricated structures demolished.