Two troops dead after bomb strike in Iraq

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The Independent Online

Two British soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated next to their vehicle near Ad Dayr, a small town north of Iraq's second city of Basra.

A third soldier was seriously wounded and sent by helicopter to a nearby hospital when the armoured Land Rover they were travelling in was blown up yesterday by an improvised explosive device left at the side of the road. The names of the dead servicemen were being held back by the military last night while their families were being informed.

The latest deaths come after a period of relative calm for the British military, who are based in the predominantly Shia south of Iraq. Since the start of the war in March 2003, 117 British servicemen and women have been killed.

The past 48 hours have been similarly difficult for American forces. A total of five US soldiers, including two Marines, have been killed, the US military announced yesterday.

In Baghdad, the bodies of 33 men were found, some with their hands bound and bearing signs of torture. One of Iraq's most popular footballers, Ghanim Ghudayer, was also kidnapped by assailants in military uniforms yesterday.

Two graves containing the remains of around 80 Kurdish villagers were unearthed near the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. They are believed to be victims of Saddam's Anfal campaign of the late 1980s, for which he is on trial.