11 American troops, journalist die in Iraq

More deaths likely in `surge,' general says

May 07, 2007|By McClatchy-Tribune

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military announced yesterday the deaths of 11 U.S. troops and an embedded journalist, and Iraqi officials said scores of civilians were killed across the country.

A top U.S. military commander warned that more casualties are likely over the next three months as more American soldiers arrive in Baghdad under President Bush's troop increase, because "we're taking the fight to the enemy."

Six of the American soldiers and a journalist working for a Russian publication were killed yesterday in Diyala when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle, the U.S. military said. No further details were immediately available.

Two American soldiers died yesterday in separate bombings in Baghdad. The U.S. military also reported the deaths of two Marines in a blast Saturday in Anbar province and that of a soldier who died yesterday in a noncombat incident in northern Iraq.

"There are going to be increased casualties during this surge because we're taking the fight to the enemy," said the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who oversees four of the five brigades involved in the U.S. troop increase.

Four of the five brigades have arrived, and the last should be in Iraq by June 1, said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a spokesman for the military.

"It may get harder before it gets easier for the Iraqis," he said.

Hours earlier, at least 35 people were killed and 80 wounded in a double car bombing in a marketplace and near a bus station in West Baghdad.

"Where is the security plan? Where is the Maliki government?" residents demanded.

Also yesterday, a battle raged between U.S. troops and gunmen in Sadr City for almost five hours, residents said. The U.S. military searched the area for members of a Shiite cell suspected in kidnappings, smuggling weapons from Iran and sending militants to Iran to train, the U.S. military said.

In Samarra, where a major Shiite shrine was destroyed last year, seven police officers, including the chief, were killed in a car bombing at headquarters. After the morning bombing, Iraqi soldiers and police flooded the area and put the city under curfew.

In a sign that sectarian violence is on the rise, 25 bodies were found throughout the city. Most turned up in neighborhoods west of the Tigris River, where the Mahdi Army militia loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Sunni insurgent groups are fighting for control.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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