The military said a bomb attack on a convoy killed four US soldiers in Tal Afar city, 150km east of the Syrian border, on Thursday. Two soldiers wounded in the attack were treated at a combat hospital.

Two US soldiers were killed on Friday when a patrol struck a homemade bomb in the western part of the capital, the military said in a statement. Nine suspects in a nearby house were detained.

In western Iraq, a soldier was killed on Saturday by gunfire in Khaldiya, 120km west of Baghdad. The soldier was assigned to a marine expeditionary force.

The names of the deceased soldiers are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.

Elsewhere, four US soldiers in a convoy were wounded when their Humvee rolled into a ditch late on Friday night near Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad.

Iraqi civilians killed

At least 1586 members of the US military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website, citing official Pentagon figures.

At least 1199 died as a result of hostile action, according to the US Defence Department.

Falluja has been a hotbed of anti-
US activity since the invasion

Meanwhile, three Iraqi civilians were killed on Saturday in a rocket attack in Falluja, the US military said in a statement.

"Three Iraqi civilians were killed and one wounded after insurgents fired at least seven rockets into the city of Falluja from outside the city," the statement said.

In the afternoon, anti-US fighters fired at least two mortar rounds at a southern Falluja district, the US military said. No casualties were reported in that attack.

According to the website Iraq Body Count, between 21,000 and 24,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of fighting since the start of the war.