The October 24 attack killed 17 Iraqis and wounded several reporters.

 

In a statement on Saturday US officials said that a soldier guarding the complex had probably saved many more lives at the hotel by killing the bomber before he could reach the entrance of the building and set off his explosives.

 

"He was trying to kill people," said the soldier involved, Specialist Darrell Greens. "It was good we stopped him because he would have killed more people and destroyed the building."

 

The US account of events could not be independently verified.

 

US deaths

 

In separate developments, three American soldiers were killed on Saturday in separate blasts in Baghdad and northern Iraq, the US military said.

 

Six US soldiers have been killed in
Iraq over the past three days

 

Two soldiers from Task Force Baghdad died when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in the southern part of the capital, the military said.

 

Elsewhere, another soldier from Task Force Liberty was killed and four others injured when a vehicle struck a landmine near Baiji, 250km north of Baghdad.

 

The names of the soldiers were being withheld pending notification of their relatives.

 

Eight American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the past three days.

 

The latest deaths raised to 2015 the number of US military members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to count by the Associated Press.