The US military has said that five more American soldiers have been killed in fighting in south Baghdad and Diyala province as Iraqi officials reported fighting in the insurgent stronghold of Baqouba. The US military denied the Iraqi report.
Three of the Americans were killed yesterday when a roadside bomb destroyed a vehicle in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, the military said. Two others were killed and nine US soldiers were wounded during separate attacks Thursday in southern Baghdad.
Their deaths raised to at least 3,405 the number of US military members who have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003. At least 58 US troops have been killed this month.
In Baqouba, capital of Diyala, police and witnesses said fighting erupted about 7 am (0930 IST) when insurgents attacked US and Iraqi military positions in the city 55 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.
The spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Minister, Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, said Iraqi units "backed by multinational forces and US helicopters stormed the terrorist dens" in Baqouba, where fighting has escalated in recent weeks.
"These operations will be continued in Baqouba as part of our operations to cleanse the city," Khalaf said.
An Iraqi army major said at least six insurgents were killed and both US and Iraqi for forces were involved in the fighting.