3 More GI Deaths Reported In Iraq

(CBS/AP) The U.S. military said Tuesday that three soldiers were killed the day before by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, bringing to eight the number of troops who died that day.

An interpreter was also killed on Monday along with the three soldiers when they were hit by the bomb in eastern Diyala province, a military statement said. Another soldier was injured in the attack.

No other details were provided.

On Monday in Baghdad, five American soldiers on a foot patrol were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest after approaching them.

The names of all the soldiers killed were withheld pending notification of family, the military said.

The attacks marked the deadliest day for American forces in Iraq in months and again showed the insurgents' ability to strike in the heart of the heavily fortified capital, as well as in restive Diyala province.

Monday's suicide blast was the deadliest attack on U.S. troops since Jan. 28, when five soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb in the northern city of Mosul.

Monday's deaths brought the number to 3,982 members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The bombing, just four days after nearly simultaneous blasts killed scores of people in a vibrant Shiite commercial district, again showed the insurgents' ability to strike inside a capital secured by hundreds of security checkpoints, U.S.-funded neighborhood watch groups and hundreds of miles of blast walls that surround buildings and cordon off districts.

The military insists that recent attacks do not point to a growing trend in violence, and continues to tout the security gains achieved over the past year.

At any rate, the push over the past six months to place U.S. bases inside neighborhoods and get soldiers out of their armored vehicles increases the Americans' vulnerability to attacks. While the face-to-face contact from foot patrols builds goodwill, it also gives suicide bombers, who often slip past security vehicle checkpoints by walking, better access to striking soldiers.

On Monday, the soldiers were walking in a shopping district of the predominantly Sunni Mansour neighborhood when a man in his 30s detonated his explosives about 30 feet away, said a police officer who witnessed the attack. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk to the media.

Four of the soldiers died at the scene, and the fifth died later from wounds, the military said. Three other American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were also wounded in the attack, which military spokesman Maj. Mark Cheadle said was "was reported to us as a suicide bomber."

Iraqi police said two civilians were also killed.

Mansour, the scene of Monday's attack, was a hotbed for al Qaeda in Iraq as recently as a year ago, until many Sunni militants switched sides to join U.S. forces against the terror group.

According to military figures, attacks in Baghdad are down 75 percent from June 2007 until late February thanks in part to Sunnis turning against al Qaeda, the Americans increasing troop levels and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's ordering his militia to observe a cease-fire.

Last month, Brig. Gen. Mike Milano, a top U.S. military official tasked with restoring security to Baghdad, said nearly 80 percent of the capital's districts were considered free of organized extremist activity.

Monday's suicide bombing in Baghdad was one of several deadly al Qaeda-signature attacks across the country.

Earlier in the day, a female suicide bomber killed a U.S.-backed Sunni leader who had formed a group to fight against al Qaeda insurgents in central Iraq.

The man's guards ushered the bomber into his home without searching her.

The woman had come to visit Sheik Thaeir Ghadhban al-Karkhi in a village in restive Diyala province the day before, begging for his help to find her kidnapped husband, said al-Karkhi's brother, Duraid Mahmoud.

Female relatives searched her on the first visit, but when she returned the following day, they let her in without checking for weapons, said Mahmoud.

Once inside al-Karkhi's home, she blew herself up, killing the sheik and three others - including his 5-year-old niece and his 24-year-old cousin, said Mahmoud and provincial police.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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