Five US troops killed in Iraq attack

Rocket attacks and bombings across Iraq kill 21 people, including five US and nine Iraqi soldiers.

    Attacks have fallen in numbers but still remain common in Iraq [Reuters]

    Five US soldiers have been killed in central Iraq, marking the deadliest day for US forces there in more than two years.

    "Five US service members were killed Monday in central Iraq," a US army statement said, without giving further details.

    An Iraqi interior ministry official and an Iraqi police officer said five rockets struck the sprawling Camp Victory base which surrounds Baghdad's international airport in the outskirts of the city, but more information was not immediately available.

    Both Iraqi officials said that the bodies of two apparent attackers were found outside the US base, badly burned from two rockets which exploded inside their vehicle.

    Another Iraqi official told the Associated Press that the US troops were staying on the Iraqi base as advisers and the rockets hit near their living quarters.

    Monday's attack killed the highest number of US service personnel in a single day since May 11, 2009, when a US soldier opened fire on five of his colleagues on a base just outside Baghdad. That solider was later arrested and charged with the killings.

    Monday's deaths bring the total number of US soldiers killed in Iraq to 4,459, according to a tally based on independent website Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

    Multiple blasts

    Also on Monday, multiple blasts rocked Baghdad and Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, killing 16 people, including nine soldiers targeted by a suicide car bomber.

    Nuri Sabah al-Mashhadani, a senior military intelligence official, was among those killed in Monday's attack in Tikrit. Twenty others were wounded, according to Salaheddin provincial health director Raid Ibrahim.

    The explosion struck at 9:30am local time, targeting the main gate of a fortified compound where several of Saddam's former presidential palaces were - now home to several security offices.

    In Baghdad, gun attacks at two checkpoints in the mainly Sunni northern area of Adhamiyah killed three people, including one soldier, an interior ministry official said.

    A car bomb in eastern Baghdad killed one person and wounded 10 others, the official added.

    Monday's attacks came just three days after a twin bomb attack on a Tikrit mosque after Friday prayers, which killed 21 people and injured more than 60 others.

    Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam - the former ruler who was executed some years after being toppled - was a key battleground in the upheaval that followed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Violence in Iraq is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common.

    A total of 177 people died in May as a result of violence, according to official figures, and independent website Iraq Body Count, which counts Iraqi civilian casualties since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, documents a minimum of 101,229 civilian deaths from violence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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