An explosive device was apparently lobbed at the patrol along a major supply route on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the US Central Command’s website.

Occupation forces have come under almost daily resistance attacks since ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But this was the first US death reported in the past week.

A total of 68 US soldiers have died in resistance attacks since US President George Bush declared an end to hostilities on 1 May. Dozens others have died in “non-combat” incidents.