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Rocket attack in Iraq kills 3 U.S. soldiers

From a Times Staff Writer

Three American soldiers were killed in a rocket attack Wednesday in southern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

The rocket also wounded two soldiers and a civilian when it hit a military outpost outside Nasiriya, the military said in a statement. It was not immediately clear who fired the rocket.

Nasiriya is the capital of Dhi Qar province. The city, like much of southern Iraq, has been troubled by periodic violence, some of it caused by competing Shiite Muslim militias.

The attack came a day after a bomb exploded near a civilian bus and a U.S. military convoy on the road between Basra and Nasiriya, killing as many as 16 Iraqi civilians, Iraqi police said.

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The U.S. military said it had no record of any deaths in the Tuesday attack. It said the blast had wounded one U.S. soldier and one Iraqi.

The U.S. military also said Wednesday that a U.S. soldier had died of wounds suffered Tuesday in a bombing near the southern city of Diwaniya. Two soldiers were injured in that attack.

Early today, the military said it had captured four suspects in connection with a suicide attack that killed five American soldiers and their interpreter Monday in Baghdad.

U.S. and Iraqi forces in the city have been fighting militants with links to the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr.

Sadr recently called on his followers to abide by a cease-fire, first announced in August, for another six months. However, some groups aligned with his movement continue to attack U.S. soldiers.

The latest fatalities brought to 3,987 the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since March 2003, according to the independent website icasualties.org.


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