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5 US soldiers, 8 Iraqis are killed in violence

BAGHDAD -- Five US soldiers were killed yesterday, including four whose vehicle hit a roadside bomb while patrolling south Baghdad, the military said.

A fifth soldier died of injuries suffered in a roadside bomb attack south of Baghdad, the US command said in a separate statement. It was unclear whether the soldier was fatally wounded in the same attack that killed the four others.

The military did not provide further details nor release the identities of the soldiers. At least 2,388 members of the US military have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.

Today, about 11 mortar rounds exploded in central Baghdad, including three that hit the heavily guarded Green Zone, killing at least six Iraqi civilians and wounding two, police said. The Iraqis were just entering the Green Zone at about 8 a.m. after making their way through several heavily guarded checkpoints when three mortars exploded just inside it, said police Lieutenant Maitham Abdul-Razzaq.

Yesterday, suspected insurgents set off two bombs in a public market in central Iraq, killing at least two Iraqis and wounding 17. The second blast was timed to hit emergency crews arriving at the scene.

The first bomb exploded at 7:30 a.m. in the middle of Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, causing a large fire, police said.

When fire engines arrived, the second bomb went off, killing a firefighter and a civilian, and wounding 17 civilians, police said.

The bullet-ridden bodies of 10 Iraqis were found in and around Baghdad, many blindfolded with their hands and legs bound in rope. Some appeared to have been tortured, and one had been decapitated, police said.

Police also found a body with signs of torture floating in the Tigris River in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, said Hadi al-Ittabi, an employee of the Kut Forensic Center.

US and Iraqi forces also fought an hourlong gun battle with insurgents in Ramadi, a center of Iraq's Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency, and four militants were killed and two Iraqi soldiers wounded, American officials said.

On Friday, at least 22 Iraqis were killed, including six in a car bombing in Tal Afar in western Iraq and six off-duty Iraqi soldiers slain in Beiji in northern Iraq, police said.

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