US Under Attack In Baghdad

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A US military post came under attack in Balad on the outskirts of Baghdad yesterday as explosions rocked the Iraqi capital, despite a round-the-clock curfew.

This followed a night filled with the sounds of mortars and occasional bursts of gunfire.

Resistance fighters yesterday fired at least two mortar rounds, setting the post in eastern Baghdad on fire, according to Iraqi police and the US military.

Hours after the attack, a plume of black smoke could be seen rising into the evening sky.

A US military spokesman would not confirm the ‘effectiveness’ of the attack, citing security reasons, but he said that it originated just outside the poor, working class Sadr City district, the scene of bloody bomb blasts last Thursday.

In a separate statement yesterday, the US military said two US Marines had died on Saturday from ‘wounds sustained due to enemy action’ while serving in Iraq’s western Anbar province.

The pair were taking part in one of many US and Iraqi forces sweeps across Iraq, in which the military claimed to have killed or detained dozens of insurgents.

One of the Marines was from Regimental Combat Team 5, and the other from Regimental Combat Team 7.

A third US soldier was killed in Diyala on Saturday by a roadside bomb, the military added in a further statement.

This brings the number of US troop deaths in the Iraq war to 2,869.

Meanwhile, an investigation was begun after an Iraqi detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca prison near the Kuwaiti border died of ‘what appears to be natural causes’, the US military reported yesterday.

The detainee was sent to the camp hospital on Thursday after complaining of chest pains and pronounced dead two days later.

‘He was still under medical care at the time of his death,’ the US statement added.

Elsewhere, an Iraqi police officer and four civilians were killed in a car bomb explosion targeting an Iraqi police checkpoint in Hilla, south of Baghdad, a police official said.

In Haswa village just south of the capital, a car bomb exploded in a market killing eight people and wounding 28 others, Iraqi security officials added.

In northern Iraq, a woman working for Iraqiya television network in Mosul was shot dead, the third media worker killed this month in the city, Iraqi police said.