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4 More U.S. Troops Killed In Baghdad

Four American soldiers were killed during combat in Baghdad, including three in a single roadside bombing, the U.S. military said Friday.

Three soldiers were killed and 11 wounded Thursday when a bomb exploded near their combat patrol in eastern Baghdad, the military said in a statement. Four of the wounded were treated and returned to duty, it said.

Another soldier was killed and three wounded the same day during combat operations in a western section of the capital, an earlier statement said. The military did not release details of the incident.

All the victims were assigned to Multi-National Division-Baghdad. Their names were withheld pending family notification.

On Thursday, the military had announced three soldier deaths: two killed in a mortar or rocket attack Tuesday, and another killed in a roadside bombing Wednesday.

At least 3,663 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians.

Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer.

Residents and city officials said Thursday large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations.

Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but this one is described by residents as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory. The problem highlights the larger difficulties in a capital beset by violence, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime and too little electricity to keep cool in the sweltering weather more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion.

Jamil Hussein, a 52-year-old retired army officer who lives in northeast Baghdad, said his house has been without water for two weeks, except for two hours at night. He says the water that does flow smells and is unclean.

Two of his children have severe diarrhea that the doctor attributed to drinking what tap water was available, even after it was boiled.

"We'll have to continue drinking it, because we don't have money to buy bottled water," he said.

In other developments:

  • A Marine Corps squad leader was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for unpremeditated murder in the killing of an Iraqi civilian during a fruitless search for an insurgent in the town of Hamdania. Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, 23, had been charged with premeditated murder but premeditation was stricken from the verdict that was returned by a military jury. In the same case, a jury sentenced a U.S. Marine corporal Friday to time served and reduced his rank to private for conspiring to murder the civilian. Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, 24, has already served 448 days in custody and was to be freed Friday. He was acquitted of murder but also found guilty of larceny and housebreaking, and cleared of making a false official statement.
  • The pace of the mayhem that saw 142 killed or found dead nationwide on Wednesday tapered off Thursday, but a suicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi police station northeast of Baghdad and killed at least 13 people, police said. Most of the dead were policemen and recruits lining up outside the station in Hibhib, a small Sunni town near Baqouba. A total of 58 people were killed or found dead across the country Thursday, according to police and hospital and morgue officials.
  • Britain said Thursday that it expects quick approval of a resolution that would expand the U.N. mandate in Iraq to promote political reconciliation, settle disputed internal boundaries, and plan for a national census. "I think it will get voted early next week," British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said. "There's no problem on it — it's straight forward." Britain circulated the resolution, co-sponsored by the United States, to other Security Council members Wednesday and council experts, who went over the text, were expected to meet again Friday.
  • Iraq anxiously awaited the arrival of its Asian Cup soccer champs Friday, but most Baghdad residents would be barred from the homecoming celebration because of security. The team was due to land at Baghdad's international airport Friday afternoon. Three players — team captain Younis Mahmoud, Nashat Akram and Hawar Mulla Mohammed — would not be with them. Mahmoud, who scored the winning goal in Iraq's 1-0 Asian Cup final win over Saudi Arabia, had said he feared for his life if he returned to Iraq to celebrate the stunning victory.
  • Adel al-Ardawi, a spokesman for the Baghdad city government, said that even with sufficient electricity "it would take 24 hours for the water mains to refill so we can begin pumping to residents. And even then the water won't be clean for a time. We just don't have the electricity or fuel for our generators to keep the system flowing."

    Noah Miller, spokesman for the U.S. reconstruction program in Baghdad, said that water treatment plants were working "as far as we know."

    "It could be a host of issues. ... And one of those may be leaky trunk lines. If there's not enough pressure to cancel out that leakage, that's when the water could fail to reach the household," Miller said.

    He said that there had been a nationwide power blackout for a few hours Wednesday night that might be causing problems for all systems that depend on Iraq's already creaking electricity grid.

    He blamed the outages on provinces north of Baghdad and in Basra in the far south where officials failed to cutback as required when they had taken their daily ration of electricity.

    "It takes a long time to bring the power back up (to the grid's capacity and demand)," Miller said.

    In the meantime, Iraqis suffer in brutal heat. It was 117 degrees in the capital Thursday, down from 120 the day before. With the power out or crackling through the decrepit system just a few hours each day, even those who can afford air conditioning do not have the power to run it.

    Many Baghdad residents have banded together to use power from neighborhood generators, but the cost of fuel and therefore electricity is skyrocketing. Diesel fuel was going for nearly $4 a gallon on Thursday.

    As expected in the midst of a water shortage, the cost of purified bottled water has shot up 33 percent. A 10-liter bottle now costs $1.60.

    "For us, we can buy bottled water. But I'm thinking about the poor who cannot afford to buy clean water," said Um Zainab, a 44-year-old homemaker in eastern Baghdad. "This shows the weakness and the inefficiency of government officials who are good at only one thing — blaming each other for the problems we are face."

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