A suicide bomber blew up his car Thursday south of Kirkuk, killing two Iraqi Army soldiers and three bystanders, and a second car bomber attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in the center of Samarra, killing three people and injuring more than a dozen others.
The explosion in Tuz Khormato, 55 miles south of Kirkuk, injured at least 16 people, including eight soldiers, said Sarhad Qader, a police official. The blast occurred near an Iraqi Army checkpoint set up to guard a Shiite shrine where pilgrims were celebrating a major religious festival.
In Samarra, north of Baghdad, another suicide car bomber attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in the city center, said police official Qassim Omar. Dr. Alaa Al-Deen Mohammed of the city hospital said at least 15 people were injured in the blast.
Also in Samarra, gunmen briefly attacked a police station with rocket propelled grenades and gunfire, police official Qasim Muhamed said. No casualties were reported.
In other developments:A U.S. military court in Germany on Thursday found a U.S. Army tank company commander guiltyof charges related to the shooting death of a wounded Iraqi last year. Capt. Rogelio "Roger" Maynulet, a 30-year-old from Chicago, stood at attention as the verdict was read. The charge — assault with intent to commit voluntary manslaughter — carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.One U.S. soldier died from injuries he sustained during a clash Wednesday in northern Mosul. The soldier was among several people injured during a clash that erupted after soldiers tried to conduct a routine check of a taxi, Lt. Col. Andre Lance said. The taxi's passengers opened fire on the soldiers, and they shot back, killing the assailants and causing the taxi to explode. Officials believe it was carrying explosives.Another U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday when his patrol came under fire in Baghdad, the military said in a statement. The gunmen disappeared into a nearby crowd, but five suspects were later detained.A roadside bomb injured six Iraqi policemen on patrol and one bystander in the southern city of Basra, police official Lt. Col. Karim Al-Zubaidi said.
Across the country Shiite Muslims observed a religious holiday marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for one of Shiites' most important saints, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussein, who was killed in a seventh century battle.
Officials have been on the alert for attacks targeting Shiite Muslims during the festival, which draws people to shrines across Iraq. The biggest gathering is in Karbala, where hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims visited two holy shrines Thursday and marched and beat their chests with their fists in a sign of mourning.
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