US Central Command said a soldier died and two were wounded on Thursday when their convoy was hit by an explosion near Baquba in the north of Baghdad. The soldiers were from the 4th Infantry Division.

Another explosion in the flashpoint town of Fallujah wounded one US soldier.

The latest death brought to 105 the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since President George Bush declared major combat over on 1 May.

The top US military commander in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez meanwhile said his forces were facing between 20 and 25 attacks a day. On some days, the numbers soared to 35, the general admitted.

Iraqis Killed

On their part, US soldiers killed two Iraqis and wounded one other in northern Iraq during the day after an American post was attacked.

Meanwhile, a new poll revealed the US-led forces were losing the battle for Iraqi's hearts and minds.

The poll conducted by the Iraqi Centre for Research and Strategic Studies revealed that no less than 67% of Iraqis viewed the US-led coalition as an occupying force.

Asked about a future Iraqi government, 33% said they wanted an Islamic model as opposed to 30% who favoured democracy.