One US soldier was killed and another four wounded when a roadside bomb blew up near their patrol in western Baghdad on Saturday, and another soldier was killed and two wounded in a similar blast northeast of the capital.

Three soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb exploded next to their vehicle in the mainly Sunni Muslim province of Salaheddin on Saturday. Two others were wounded in the blast.

Another explosion on Saturday, this time in southern Baghdad, killed a soldier and wounded two others. Their unit had been searching for weapons caches and detaining suspects.

In western Anbar province a marine was killed in combat.

A complex attack involving explosives and small arms fire killed another soldier late on Friday north of the capital near Taji. Three others were wounded in the attack.

'Al-Qaeda captives'

US forces on Sunday said they have raided an al-Qaeda prison camp north of Baghdad and rescued 41 Iraqi captives who showed signs of having been tortured or mistreated.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Donnelly said that US forces and members of the Fifth Iraqi Army came upon "an al-Qaeda in Iraq prison camp" south of Baquba.
 
"As we came upon this thing, we had the captors or whoever was holding them flee the scene. We immediately secured the area and got the prisoners or those that we rescued to safety," he added.
 
Some of the prisoners were thought to have been held for several months, he said.

 

The camp was holding 41 people, all thought to be Iraqi civilians, many of them showing signs of abuse ranging from broken bones and bruises to heat injuries caused by being held with insufficient water, Donnelly said.

 

Baquba is the capital of the lawless province of Diyala and part of a belt of violent towns around Baghdad where Sunni fighters, Shia militias and security forces are locked in a vicious three-way battle.

 

Thousands of US troop reinforcements have flooded into Diyala as part of the broader so-called "surge" strategy to quell fighting in the Baghdad region.

Source: Agencies