Eight American soldiers were killed in roadside bombings and a helicopter crash in a restive province north of Baghdad, the military reported Tuesday, making May the deadliest month of the year for U.S. troops in Iraq.
The Americans — all from Task Force Lightning — were killed Monday in Diyala as the U.S. commemorated Memorial Day, bringing the number of U.S. forces killed this month to at least 110.
The Germans were kidnapped by a group of gunmen wearing police commando uniforms who arrived at the ministry in a huge convoy of white sports utility vehicles, which are often used by police, according to the government official and a police officer, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Police have been accused of involvement in violence here in the past.
Yousef Qasim, 37, was working in his clothing shop 200 yards away when the blast tore through a line of buses waiting at the square, he said.
Shop owners grabbed their wares and tried to flee, fearing a second blast, said Talib Dhirgham, who owns a nearby laundromat. Police who arrived at the scene confiscated the cameras of journalists who came to cover the attack. [A new restrictive policy in this regard was announced earlier this month.]
In other violence, gunmen in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, set up fake checkpoints on the outskirts of the city and abducted more than 40 people, most of them soldiers, police officers and members of two tribes that had banded together against local insurgents, police said.
Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday criticized the talks as interference in Iraq?s internal affairs and warned Iraqi officials not to participate in them.
On Monday, 36 people were killed across Baghdad in a wave of attacks. Another 33 bullet-riddled bodies were dead, tortured and abandoned in different parts of the capital, the apparent victims of ongoing sectarian violence.