British army soldiers take defensive positions after their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007. A roadside bomb targeted a British army convoy and wounded one soldier, whose wounds were not considered to be life-threatening, the British army said.
AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani
The U.S. military announced the deaths of five more U.S. troops on another bloody Sunday in Iraq.
Three U.S. airmen and two soldiers were killed, the U.S. military said Sunday.
A car bomb in Baghdad on Sunday killed three airmen assigned to the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Division, the military said in a statement. One airman was also injured in the explosion.
Also Sunday, Britain's defense ministry said a British soldier assigned to the Queen's Royal Lancers was killed in a traffic accident in Maysan province. Two other soldiers sustained minor injuries, the ministry said in a statement.
A U.S. soldier died Saturday from small arms fire in a southwestern section of Baghdad, the military said. Another American soldier died Friday from combat wounds sustained in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province.
All names were withheld pending family notification.
A barrage of mortars also killed four civilians and wounded five others in central Baghdad after a roadside bomb missed an Iraqi police patrol and killed two pedestrians, police said.
The attacks were among a spate of bombings and shootings which killed at least 14 people across Iraq on Sunday, as Iraqi troops waged a fresh battle to oust militias and pacify the capital.
The sectarian attacks continued despite the major drive to tame Baghdad. The Iraqi army reported killing 30 militants late Saturday in a Sunni insurgent stronghold in the center of the city, just to the north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking only hours earlier at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the relentless and open-ended bid to crush militant fighters
Hassan al-Suneid, a key aid and member of al-Maliki's Dawa Party, said the Iraqi leader had committed 20,000 soldiers to the operation that would call upon American troops and airpower only when needed.
In other developments: Two of Saddam Hussein's top aides — Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court — were taken from their cells and told they were going to be executed on the same day as the former Iraqi dictator and told to write out their wills, their lawyer, Issam Ghazawi, said Sunday. But the two were returned to their cells, and are being held in U.S. custody at an unspecified location in Baghdad. Although al-Bandar told Ghazawi that he "wished to have been executed with President Saddam," the lawyer is seeking to have their death sentences commuted because of "the psychological pain they endured as they waited to hang."
Treasury chief Gordon Brown, expected to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister by September, suggested Sunday that he will pursue an Iraq policy that is more independent of Washington than the current government. Brown acknowledged that mistakes were made in the aftermath of the invasion and promised to be "very frank" with President Bush. He also said that Britain is likely to scale down its commitment of troops to Iraq over the next year
Gunmen drove through a marketplace in southwestern Baghdad, spraying bullets into food and clothing stalls and killing three Sunni Muslim shopkeepers, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Another drive-by shooting targeted four guards for the Iraqi Finance Ministry, killing one of them.
In Mahaweel, about 35 miles south of Baghdad, gunmen killed a Shiite cleric and his son as they were heading to a nearby Shiite shrine, police said.
Attackers shot dead a Defense Ministry employee on his way to work south of Baghdad, and a provincial councilman was injured in an assassination attempt in Hillah. Police said a parked car bomb killed a woman and wounded 13 people in an outdoor market in the same city, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
The U.S. military announced Sunday that 88 suspects were captured in American and Iraqi raids last week, and a weapons cache used for assembling improvised explosive devices was destroyed. Sixty-nine of those suspects were released after questioning, the military said in a statement.
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