The worst attack on Wednesday targeted a military convoy in the Abu Ghraib area on the western outskirts of Baghdad.

US army Lieutenant Jamie Davis said the two casualties had suffered light wounds.

But Iraqi police Lieutenant Muhammad Khayon said US forces responded to the attack by opening fire on people in the area, wounding an Iraqi civilian - although Davis did not confirm the incident.

Two more bombs exploded near other convoys in southwestern Baghdad and in the Taji area north of the capital, but no soldiers were wounded.

Swift response

After the convoy attacks, US forces arrested al-Dhuluiya police chief Brigadier Muhammad Khalaf Husain and 60 police officers and occupied the police station, according to an Iraqi police source. 
 

US and UK forces regard Iraqi
police loyalties with suspicion

Aljazeera learned that US forces had launched a large search operation in the Zuba village near Abu Ghraib. 
 
Residents said dozens of Iraqis had been arrested and many houses and cars destroyed in the operation.
 
Elsewhere, a US Army Apache helicopter made an emergency landing, caused by mechanical problems, about 50km outside the northern city of Mosul. None of the crew was injured.

US toll 

Last Monday, a diplomatic security agent attached to the US State Department and three private American security guards were killed when their convoy was hit by a car bomber in Mosul.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a statement issued in New York, identified the diplomatic security officer as Stephen Eric Sullivan.

"Steve's death is a tragic loss for all of us at the Department of State. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve's family. We grieve with them in their loss and stand with them at this difficult time," Rice said.

The latest American deaths, which raised the overall toll to 1907, included a soldier from the 18th Military Police Brigade killed in a roadside bombing 120km north of the capital on Tuesday, the military said.

On Monday, four soldiers attached to the US Marine Corps died in two roadside bombings near Ramadi, 115km west of Baghdad. They were attached to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The State Department also released the names of three soldiers killed on Friday - Sergeant Matthew Deckard, 29; Specialist David Ford IV, 20, and Sergeant Alan Gifford, 39.

Journalists killed

Meanwhile, two Iraqi journalists working for the national newspaper As-Safeer were shot dead this week in the northern city of Mosul, Chief Editor Hussein Jubri said on Wednesday.

Mosul bureau chief Firas Maadidi was killed on Tuesday evening outside his home. On Sunday, a woman reporter, Hind Ismaeel, was also killed.

Two Iraqi journalists were killed in
Mosul this week

Condemning the killings, Jubri added that his "newspaper has no links with any political party. We are an independent national newspaper."

Maadidi was killed by unidentified assailants and Ismaeel by a man wearing a police uniform, Juburi said, adding that he had no idea who was behind the killings.

On Monday, Iraqi journalist Fakher Haidar al-Tamimi, who worked for foreign media in the southern city of Basra, was shot dead after being taken from his home overnight by men claiming to be police.

The deaths bring to 70 the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003 and to 21 this year, according to a toll based on figures from the Paris-based media rights group Reporters without Borders.