US soldiers killed
 
Nine US soldiers were killed across Iraq, the US military announced on Wednesday, bringing to 85 the number of soldiers killed in one of the most violent months of the war so far.
 
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All nine of the soldiers and marines were killed in a series of incidents on Tuesday, some of them in an area where the troops were searching for three of their comrades who were captured 11 days ago.
 
Three soldiers were killed when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, one was shot dead in the capital and another hit by a booby trap.
 
Two more soldiers were killed by another roadside bomb north of  Baghdad, while two marines died in action in the western province of Anbar, according to statements from the US command in Baghdad.

Civilians killed
 
In other violence on Wednesday, armed men drove into a commercial area in central Baghdad and opened fire on shops, killing four civilians and injuring 14 others, police said.

The attack broke out about 10:30am local time in the Khulani neighbourhood near a historic Shia mosque.
 
Smoke rises from behind buildings in Baghdad
after a clash on Wednesday [AFP]
A joint patrol of US troops soldiers and Iraqi security officers drove off the attackers, police said.
 
The US military said it killed two militia members, detained 19 others and uncovered a cache of Iranian money and bomb-making materials during a raid in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.
 
On Tuesday, the bodies of 33 people were found shot in different districts of Baghdad, police said.
 
Twenty-seven of them were found in the predominantly Sunni Arab western Karkh side of Baghdad.
 
Separately, the bodies of five people were retrieved from two rivers near the city of Kut, 170km southeast of Baghdad, on Tuesday, police said.
 
Children killed
 
Three children were killed and three more wounded in a mortar attack on Tuesday in the town of Khan Bani Saad, near Baquba, 65km north of Baghdad, police said.
 
In the same town, an Iraqi officer was killed and three other soldiers wounded in clashes with fighters, police said.
 
A suicide car bomber targeting a security patrol killed a policeman and wounded three others in Doura district of southern Baghdad, police said.
 
And in Samawa, the bodies of five Shia men were brought on Tuesday, sparking stone-throwing at a Sunni mosque.