The U.S. military said Tuesday that four U.S. soldiers died in two roadside bombings near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and a fifth died in a blast north of Baghdad, pushing the toll of American forces killed in Iraq past 1,900.
Also Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed four other Americans — a diplomatic security agent and three private security agents — in the northern city of Mosul, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Four of the soldiers were killed in two separate bomb attacks Monday during combat operations in Ramadi, a volatile 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 fifth soldier, from the 18th Military Police Brigade, was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb 75 miles north of the capital, the military said.
As of Tuesday, 1,904 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,483 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers. The figures include five military civilians.
In other developments:Pfc. Lynndie England is back in court Fort Hood, Texas, Tuesday. Four months after she tried without success to plead guilty, England plans to fight charges she played a key role in abusing detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, her chief lawyer said.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.Opposition political leaders expressed unease Tuesday about the British role in Iraq, a day after a clash between the army and rioters in Basra. "I think the events of the last 24 hours confirm what many of us have worried now over many months, that Iraq is moving more in the direction of civil war," Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said.On Sunday, an Iraqi journalist working for The New York Times was killed after men claiming to be police officers took him from his home, the newspaper said. Fakher Haider, 38, was found dead in a deserted area on the city's outskirts Monday, hands bound with at least one gunshot to the head, the Times reported. 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."On Friday, a local commander of al-Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was arrested, prompting a demonstration by militiamen demanding his release.
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