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US soldiers killed in Baghdad truck blast

A SUICIDE bomber rammed his explosives-laden truck into a wall around a police headquarters in northern Iraq yesterday, killing five American soldiers and two Iraqi policemen in the single deadliest attack against United States forces this year, the US military and Iraqi police said.

A sixth American soldier and 17 Iraqi policemen were also wounded in the blast that took place near the national police headquarters in southwestern Mosul - Iraq's third-largest city and al-Qaida's last urban stronghold.

Suicide bombings - a hallmark of al-Qaida's style of attack - continue to threaten the city, which US troops must leave by June 30 under an agreement with the Iraqis.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Stuart, chief of US operations in Mosul, said the target was the Iraqi national police complex and not the US patrol.

He said the American patrol just happened to be on the same street when the attack occurred.

"It was just bad timing," Stuart told reporters.

Yesterday's blast was the deadliest single bombing attack against US troops this year.

A suicide car bomb struck a US patrol in Mosul on February 9, killing four US soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter. Four US soldiers were killed on January 26 when two helicopters collided over the northern city of Kirkuk.

The bomber made a sharp turn as he approached the police complex, then rammed his truck through an iron barrier, hitting a sandbagged wall beyond it and detonating his vehicle near the station's main building, Iraqi police said.

The US military said two people were detained in connection with the attack.

Mosul had been relatively quiet in recent weeks compared to Baghdad where attacks killed at least 53 people this week.


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