Bomb Kills 4 GIs, Iraqi Interpreter

Baghdad residents chant and wave an Iraqi flag during a protest in Firdous Square in central Baghdad, Iraq Wednesday, July 18, 2007, to demand the government improve security and public services. The demonstrators urged authorities to "stop mocking us" and to make its only goal "the protection of Iraqis." (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed ) AP

U.S. military officials have announced the deaths of four more American soldiers – killed, along with their Iraqi interpreter, by a roadside bomb aimed at their patrol in east Baghdad.

The blast is said to have occurred Wednesday, during military operations aimed at disrupting the flow of explosives into the capital.

Meanwhile, Sunni lawmakers ended their five-week boycott of parliament Thursday, raising hopes the factious assembly can make progress on benchmark legislation demanded by Washington.

The 44 members of the Iraqi Accordance Front attended Thursday's session after striking a deal with other blocs to reinstate the Sunni speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, who was ousted by the Shiite-dominated assembly last month for erratic behavior.

Al-Mashhadani is expected to gracefully resign after presiding over a number of sessions. Shiite legislator Hassan al-Suneid, an aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said al-Mashhadani's return came after secret conditions that should not be made public.

The Sunnis ended their walkout two days after Shiite lawmakers loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ended their boycott after officials accepted their demands for rebuilding a Shiite shrine damaged by bombings.

Those two boycotts had paralyzed the 275-member parliament, which is under strong criticism from U.S. critics for failing to approve key legislation and for plans to take a month's vacation in August at a time when American and Iraqi troops are dying on the battlefield.

U.S. officials also made public Tuesday charges of premeditated murder being brought against two soldiers in connection with the death of an Iraqi last month.

Sgt. 1st Class Trey A. Corrales, of San Antonio and Spc. Christopher P. Shore of Winder, Ga., were charged with one count of murder in the death, which allegedly occurred June 23 near the northern city of Kirkuk, the military said in a statement.

The soldiers charged with the premeditated murder of an Iraqi are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii. The unit is attached to Multinational Division - North.

The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Browder, was relieved of his command in connection with the investigation although he is not a suspect and has not been charged, the military said.

No further details were released, but the statement noted that the charges are allegations and neither of the two soldiers has been convicted.

The charges were revealed on the same day that a military jury at Camp Pendleton in California convicted a U.S. Marine of conspiring to murder an Iraqi man in a bungled attempt to abduct and kill a suspected insurgent in Hamdania.

In other recent developments:

  • A CBS News/New York Times poll found that 61 percent of Americans surveyed think the war in Iraq should be funded by Congress only if there is a timetable for withdrawal. Twenty-eight percent say funding should be continued without a timetable, while 8 percent think all funding for the war should be blocked, no matter what.

  • The U.S. military said Wednesday that three American soldiers were killed the day before in separate bombings – two in west Baghdad and another in east Baghdad. Four other Americans were wounded in the east Baghdad blast, according to U.S. officials who say two insurgents responsible for the attack were identified, engaged and killed.

  • At least 12 people were killed Wednesday in a series of bombings in mostly Shiite areas of eastern Baghdad. Seven of them died in two back-to-back bombings near a gas station in the Amin district.

  • Police say eight civilians were killed when gunmen opened fire in the city of Khalis, a Shiite enclave in a mostly Sunni area 50 miles north of Baghdad.

  • The U.S. command announced the arrest of an al Qaeda leader it said served as the link between the organization's command in Iraq and Osama bin Laden's inner circle, enabling it to wield considerable influence over the Iraqi group. Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was the highest-ranking Iraqi in the al Qaeda in Iraq leadership when he was captured July 4 in Mosul, U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said.
    • Alfonso Serrano

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