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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Five soldiers die in Iraqi blast
Burning car in Falluja
Bodies were burned in the Falluja attack
Five soldiers serving with the US-led coalition in Iraq have been killed in a bomb attack west of Baghdad, the US military has said.

Their military vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device at the roadside in the province of al-Anbar.

Coalition officials gave no indication of the nationality of the troops.

The incident came as two cars were attacked in the city of Falluja, also west of Baghdad, and at least two civilians were reported killed.

The people of Falluja hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep
Abdul Aziz Mohammed
Falluja resident
There has been an upsurge in fighting in the region - a stronghold of opposition to the occupation - over the past week.

The BBC's Richard Lister in Baghdad says there are clashes in the region almost every day and at least two US troops and several Iraqi civilians have been killed there in the past week.

Coalition forces have been trying to build up their presence in Falluja, to identify insurgents they believe to be operating there.

Charred bodies

The cars were set on fire, their passengers burnt and bodies dragged out, reports from Falluja suggested.

The vehicles were four-wheel-drive cars, similar to those used by the coalition, and some of their occupants were reported to be wearing flak-jackets.

Witnesses said angry crowds dragged the bodies through the streets, mutilated and dismembered them.

A US passport was apparently filmed beside one of the bodies.

"The people of Falluja hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," said local resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed.

Twelve people were also reported injured in a suspected car bomb attack in the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, on Wednesday.

Police and civilians were among the injured in the attack, and several cars were damaged by the blast.

No human remains were found in the vehicle which blew up, a policeman on the scene told AFP news agency.

A coalition soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the town of Ramadi yesterday, and another marine was killed in Falluja on Friday.

A bomb attack a few kilometres south of Baquba on Sunday injured five civilians, including three children.

The BBC's Jim Fish
"The rising violence comes in the run-up to the planned handover to an Iraqi administration"


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