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Seven US soldiers killed in Iraq

BBC News | May 24, 2005

Seven US soldiers have been killed in two separate bomb attacks in Iraq.

In the first incident three members of the 3rd Infantry Division died as a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad as their patrol passed along the road.

Shortly afterwards it was announced that four members of II Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in an attack in Haswa, 50km south of Baghdad.

More than 100 Iraqis have also been killed or injured in wave of bombings since Monday morning.

Details of the anti-US attacks are still coming in and the dead soldiers have not been identified as next of kin are being informed.

Suspicious car

Earlier on Tuesday car bomb exploded in central Baghdad with reports saying at least five Iraqis were killed.

The blast happened in the Alwiya area at about 1030, damaging least three cars and several buildings were also damaged.

Residents had told police officers about a suspicious car and as a bomb disposal team was approaching it exploded, a police spokesman was quoted as saying.

The attacks came as American and Iraqi forces continued searching for insurgents in western suburbs of Baghdad.

The US military announced that 428 suspects had been picked up in just over 30 hours during the sweep dubbed Operation Squeeze Play.

Late on Monday, a bomb destroyed a Bradley fighting vehicle in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, wounding three US soldiers, none of them seriously, the army said.

Oil criticism

As the surge in violence hampers Iraq's economic rehabilitation, the government has been criticised by a body set up to scrutinise the way it manages oil revenue.

The UN-sponsored monitoring board said Iraqi ministries had poor financial controls and accounting procedures, and often failed to award contracts openly or ensure they were completed.

It made similar criticism of the accounting methods used by the US authorities in Iraq after the war in 2003.

The head of Iraq's southern oil company, Jabbar al-Ueibi, has acknowledged that oil production is lower now than it was before the US-led invasion.

He told the BBC that output had been hit by a lack of funds for essential maintenance and equipment.

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