Five killed in Iraq blasts

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The Independent Online

Three explosions struck Baghdad within a span of two hours today, police said, after a roadside bomb in the capital killed three American soldiers and wounded two on a late-night combat patrol.

The soldiers were killed when the blast hit their military combat patrol in northern Baghdad, the US command said.

Insurgents often plant such explosives and hide nearby to set them off with hidden electrical cords or cell phone devices as coalition forces pass by in convoys.

The three deaths raised to 46 the number of American troops who have died this month. At least 2,934 members of the US military have died since the war started in March 2003.

At 9am, a suicide car bomb hit an abandoned house being used by policemen as an outpost in Dora, southern Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding five, a police officer said.

At 9.45am, a roadside bomb exploded near Mustasiriyah University in east Baghdad, wounding seven civilians who were standing nearby, said police Lt Ali Muhsin.

A parked car bomb detonated at 10.30am near al-Maamoun college in western Baghdad, killing one student and wounding two others and two policemen, a police officer said.

Last week, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urged university professors and students to ignore a Sunni Arab insurgent group's warnings to avoid class, calling them "desperate attempts."

The group had sent emails to students and posted signs at schools and mosques in Baghdad, saying students should stay away while it cleanses the campuses of Shiite death squads, according to a statement from Maliki's office.

But the attacks on college students and professors have continued.