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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Iraq bomb kills US soldier

US troops secure the ground
Attacks keep coalition troops on constant alert
A bomb blast has killed one US soldier and injured two others in the Iraqi town of Baquba, north-east of Baghdad.

The attack happened late on Sunday, according to a military spokesman.

The soldier - from the Fourth Infantry Division - was killed as he and colleagues were guarding the town's police station, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Baghdad.

The killing brings to 57 the number of American soldiers killed in attacks since major combat operations ended on 1 May.

At around the same time as the Baquba attack two grenades were set off under a couple of lorries close to the UK Government office in Baghdad.

Two Iraqis were injured. A coalition spokesperson said the British office had not been the target and that no staff were injured.

The BBC's Matthew Price, in Baghdad, says there seems no let-up in the daily war of attrition against the US-led forces on the ground here in Iraq.

Attacks against coalition forces are concentrated in the central area of the country, around and to the north of Baghdad.

Contention

In Baquba on Sunday about 50 Iraqis demanded the release of Iraqi prisoners of war in Iran and compensation for released prisoners of war.

Organiser Mahmud Hatem - a prisoner of war for nine years - said 8-10,000 POWs were still in Iran from the 1980-1988 war launched by Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

The AFP news agency also quoted the son of the town's leading Shia Muslim cleric, Ali Abdul Karim al-Madani, as saying his father had been arrested that same night by US troops.

Baquba is home to both Sunni and Shia Muslims, and has been a regular battleground between US troops and insurgents believed to be still loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Two people died at the weekend in the southern city of Basra, when some 2,000 people protested over chronic shortages of fuel and electricity.

Coalition troops came under fire in Basra on Sunday and returned fire.





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