Three more US soldiers killed in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Three American soldiers were killed today when their convoy was hit by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in northern Iraq.

Three American soldiers were killed today when their convoy was hit by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in northern Iraq.

It was the second attack in two days on the 101st Airborne Division, which led the intense assault in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that killed Oday and Qusay Hussein on Tuesday. The killings were further signs that the insurgency against American troops isn't losing its strength.

Military spokeswoman Spc. Nicole Thompson in Baghdad said the soldiers were travelling in a convoy toward Qayyarah, about 180 miles north of Baghdad.

Yesterday, two American soldiers were killed in attacks on their convoys, including one near Mosul, and one in Ramaldi, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the capital, killing one soldier and wounding two more.

The deaths brought to 158 the number of American servicemen killed in action since the war began March 20, surpassing by 11 the death toll in the 1991 Gulf War.

Guerrilla holdouts loyal to the regime have been attacking US forces at a rate of about 12 times daily in an effort to wear down the American occupation and drive it from the country.

In Baghdad, two Iraqi men were killed today after the car they were riding in approached a US checkpoint near the downtown al-Geilani mosque. Eyewitnesses told the AP that the two men were killed after the car caught fire.

"We told the driver not to go ahead because there was an American checkpoint," said Mahmoud Haider, 50, who witnessed the shooting. "He refused."

Meanwhile, the Coalition Provisional Authority announced early this week the closure of a Baghdad newspaper and arrest of its office manager, who wasn't identified.

The statement said Al-Mustaqila, which means "The Independent" in Arabic, published an article July 13 calling for "death to all spies and those who co-operate with the US" It said killing them was a religious duty.

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