May 23, 2007 / 9:58 AM / in 10 years

Nine U.S. soldiers killed in five Iraq attacks

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<p>An Iraqi soldier buys children's clothing from a vendor passing a checkpoint in Baghdad, May 23, 2007.Namir Noor-Eldeen</p>

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Nine U.S. soldiers were killed in five separate attacks across Iraq over the past 48 hours, most of them by roadside bombs, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

In the worst single attack, three soldiers were killed and two were wounded when their patrol was hit by "multiple improvised explosive devices" 5 km (3 miles) south of Baghdad on Monday, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The military had said in an earlier statement that the attack, in which an interpreter was also wounded, had happened on Tuesday.

Three other attacks took place in different locations around Baghdad on Tuesday.

Two soldiers were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad province. Another three were wounded in the same attack.

One more soldier was killed and another wounded when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb southwest of Baghdad.

Another soldier was killed when his patrol was hit by small arms fire in the west of the capital, while two Marines were also killed in western Anbar province on Tuesday.

Eighty soldiers have now been killed since the beginning of the month, keeping May on track to be among the bloodiest months for the U.S. military since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

The total of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq stands at 3,431. Roadside bombs are by far the biggest killer of U.S. forces.

Thousands of extra U.S. and Iraqi troops are being deployed around Baghdad and other areas as part of a three-month-old security crackdown designed to drag Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian civil war.

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