One 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and two others were wounded Friday in a roadside bombing in central Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
Near Samarra, two 4th Infantry Division soldiers were killed and three others were wounded Thursday when their convoy was attacked with a roadside bomb, the military said, and an American civilian contractor was killed and another wounded when gunmen attacked a convoy Thursday near Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad. The victims were not identified.
An Apache helicopter fired on Iraqi insurgents who were preparing to launch rockets against a U.S. base 20 miles north of Tikrit on Thursday, killing seven of them, the 4th Infantry Division said Friday. U.S. soldiers later found hundreds of rockets and missiles at the site.
Along the Syrian border, U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets dropped two satellite-guided bombs Thursday night on a three-story building in Husaybah used by insurgents to store ammunition and launch attacks, the 82nd Airborne Division said. American officials have long accused Syria and Iran of allowing fighters to enter Iraq and attack the coalition.
Between Basra and the Kuwaiti border Friday, gunmen fired on jeeps carrying Portuguese journalists, wounding one reporter and kidnapping another, Portuguese media reported. It was the first abduction of a journalist since President Bush declared the end of major combat May 1.
Coalition forces have stepped up action against suspected enemy targets in the wake of recent violence, including a suicide bombing in Nasiriyah that killed more than 30 people, among them at least 18 Italians.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, en route to Tokyo on a six-day Asian trip, said Friday that guerrillas in Iraq have remained a deadly threat to the technologically superior Americans by studying the way U.S. troops fight.
"The remnants of [former President Saddam Hussein's] regime are going to school on us," Rumsfeld told reporters. "They watch what takes place, and then they make adjustments.
"The test is who's going to outlast the other, and the answer is we're going to outlast them," he said.
Some of the Italian survivors of the Nasiriyah bombing left for Rome on Friday aboard a C-130 transport plane.
When it landed in Rome, priests and doctors were the first to board. Ambulances took the roughly 20 wounded to a military hospital in a police motorcade.
The coffins of the 18 dead were expected to arrive in Italy today.