The ambush follows two separate incidents elsewhere in the country on Saturday, in which seven Spanish intelligence officers and two Japanese diplomats were killed.

The attack on US soldiers took place near the town of Husayba on the Syrian border, the US military said on Sunday.
The soldiers from the Third Armoured Cavalry Regiment were ambushed on the main Euphrates valley highway, east of the town on Saturday afternoon, said a statement from the regional command in the western town of Ramadi.

"Confirmed reports are that two US soldiers were killed and one wounded. The wounded soldier was subsequently moved to a nearby field hospital."

Spanish, Japanese attacks

According to the Spanish Defence Ministry, the Spanish group was on its way back to Baghdad when the vehicles in which they were travelling were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifle fire. The incident took place near Suwayra, 30km south of the Iraqi capital. One Spaniard was wounded.

"We will firmly carry out our responsibilities for humanitarian aid and reconstruction (in Iraq) as a member of the international community..."

Junichiro Koizumi,
Japanese prime minister

In an ambush near the ousted President Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, two Japanese diplomats were killed. It was later announced that their Iraqi driver  died in the attack as well. 

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed not to be blown off course by the diplomats' deaths - the first of Japanese in Iraq since the US-led war began in March.

"We will firmly carry out our responsibilities for humanitarian aid and reconstruction (in Iraq) as a member of the international community. There is no change in this," Koizumi said.

In latest developments, two foreigners were seriously wounded on Sunday when their car was attacked on a highway south of Tikrit.

Locals said the men were believed to be Korean contractors, but this could not be confirmed. The attack took place on the same highway where the Japanese diplomats were killed. 

Bloodiest month

With the latest deaths, November has been the worst month for casualties among occupation forces, with 106 of its troops killed.

Among them, 79 Americans and 25 other occupation soldiers were slain.

The latest attack brought to 187 the number of US soldiers killed in action in Iraq since 1 May, when Washington declared major combat over.

In early November, 18 Italians were killed in a car bomb attack at the military's headquarters in Nasiriya. It was the first attack on Italian troops in Iraq.