An army spokesman confirmed the deaths on Thursday but said four of those injured had already been returned to duty.

The other three injured had to be evacuated to a combat support hospital.

One of the Americans died instantly at the base while the second died later in a combat support hospital, an army statement said.

No names were published, but some journalists said the wounded were from the 13th Support Command.

The death brings the total number of US losses in Iraq to 569, which means that over 12 soldiers have died each week since the invasion of Iraq began.

Honour or denial?

To mark the increasing toll, the US House of Representatives approved a measure honouring the US troops who ousted former President Saddam Hussein.

The Republican-sponsored bill passed by a vote of 327 to 93 with seven abstentions, just hours after the latest bombing in Baghdad left at least 29 civilians dead and scores injured.

"With their resolution, the Republicans are in denial as to why we went into Iraq, in denial as to the current state of stability and security in Iraq"

Nancy Pelosi,
Democrat leader in the House of Representatives

The resolution asserted that "the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his government from power in Iraq."

The bill, ahead of the 20 March anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, praised US and coalition forces for "valiant service" in Iraq.

The gesture also commended "the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime."

Instability

However, Democrats decried the bill as an empty gesture that glosses over a continued loss of military and civilian life there.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of opposition Democrats in the House, dismissed the bill as hypocritical.

"With their resolution, the Republicans are in denial as to why we went into Iraq, in denial as to the current state of stability and security in Iraq."