One soldier was killed on Friday defusing a roadside bomb near Baquba, 60 km from Baghdad, said Captain Jefferson Wolfe. 

The second was killed when his convoy hit a booby-trap explosive near al-Duluiyah between Baquba and Samarra, he said. Another soldier was also wounded in that explosion.

Earlier on Friday, the US military said  the 1st Armoured Division has captured five men suspected of firing rockets at the main US headquarters in Baghdad on Christmas night.

Two rockets hit a parking lot near the fortress-like complex of the occupation forces' compound at 11:15 pm (20:15 GMT) on Thursday, the military said. 

"Aircraft observed the launch point and reported the location," it said. 

No one was wounded in the attack, which came just hours after fighters sped around Baghdad, lobbing rockets and mortars at more than a half-dozen sites around the city, including hotels, home to foreigners, and three embassies.

Tribal chief shot

In Mosul, gunmen shot and killed a tribal chief and member of the US-appointed local council, Iraqi police said.

 

US soldiers lay siege to Falluja 

The son of Sheikh Talal al-Khalidi, the tribal chief,  was also killed in the incident which follows a spate of attacks in Mosul on Iraqis working under the US-led occupation administration ruling the country.

   

A grenade was thrown at Iraqi policemen when they arrived to investigate the slaying, police said. One policeman was wounded.

Meanwhile, US soldiers sealed off part of a town in Falluja, ordered residents out and then launched a missile strike against the home of an alleged fighter, witnesses said on Friday. 

Troops used loud hailers to ask residents to leave one district of Khaldiyha, about 80 km west of Baghdad, said Ahmad Jasim Hussein and Wail Faris Ilwan. 

An aircraft fired two missiles to destroy the home of Saad Ali Abid, 35, a small businessman detained for about a week by US forces, the witnesses said. 

Polish soldiers injured

Fighters also wounded two Polish soldiers in an ambush in
southern Iraq, the latest in a string of attacks on the forces
of countries which have answered Washington's call for help in Iraq.

A Polish-led division said the troops were attacked on Thursday night with bombs and small arms fire near Mahawil, about 80 km south of the capital. "Their injuries are not life-threatening," a spokesman for the division said.

The latest casualties brought to 210 the number of US combat deaths since Washington announced the end of major combat in Iraq on 1 May.