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Two US soldiers killed in Iraq

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  • Two US soldiers killed in Iraq

    Two US soldiers killed in Iraq

    Two more American soldiers have been killed in separate incidents in and around Baghdad, the US military has said.
    One soldier was killed in action near the Iraqi town of Hilla, south of the capital, in an area patrolled by the US 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

    The Marines are responsible for a mainly Shiite Muslim area south of the capital which includes the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala.

    The second soldier - from the army's 1st Armoured Division - was killed in a fire at a small arms range in Baghdad.

    Sixty-five American soldiers have been killed since US President George W Bush declared an end to formal combat on 1 May this year.

    The BBC's Jonathan Head, in Baghdad, said the death in Hilla on Thursday would be a big blow to the expeditionary marine unit based there.

    Another reminder

    "I was with them just 10 days ago and they took great pride then in the fact that they hadn't lost a man in action since hostilities ended in April," he said.

    "They also enjoyed much better relations with the local community there - not in the heavily armed and fortified mode that you see in Baghdad."

    Our correspondent said this death was another reminder to US troops that they can be targeted anywhere, even in areas where they think they are doing better than Baghdad.

    The second soldier died from burns and smoke inhalation following the fire on Thursday, in which six other soldiers were wounded. A military spokesman said there was no information on the cause of the blaze.

    Loyalists of deposed President Saddam Hussein and some foreign Muslim militants are thought to be behind the wave of attacks on coalition troops in Iraq.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."