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Suicide bomber injures Marines


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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide bomber with explosives strapped to his body blew himself up at a Marine checkpoint in Baghdad late Thursday, wounding four Marines, U.S. military officials said.

Capt. Joe Plenzler, with the 1st Marine Division, said the Marines have been evacuated, but their conditions were not immediately known.

Plenzler said the attack was another example of the "dirty tricks" that fighters loyal to President Saddam Hussein have resorted to during the three weeks of fighting.

"We came to this fight knowing this could happen. Several Iraqis want to kill Americans, Saddam's put them up to it," Plenzler told CNN.

He said the explosion occurred at about 7:40 p.m. Thursday (11:40 a.m. EDT), at a checkpoint in Saddam City, Baghdad's Shia community.

CNN Correspondent Walter Rodgers, in Baghdad, was told the four Marines were seriously wounded.

He reported that smoke was still rising from the spot where the suicide bomber blew himself up 15 minutes after the explosion.

Four U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division were killed March 29 when a suicide bomber in a taxi attacked a military checkpoint in the central Iraqi town of Najaf.

After the attack, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said more suicide bombers would strike coalition forces.

Plenzler added that the U.S. military has "received word" that foreign nationals have entered Iraq with the intent to kill Americans.

"We're Marines so we're going to take all-comers, and we're going to accomplish the mission," he said.

He said Marines continue to find caches of weapons hidden by Saddam's regime in civilian areas. One find, he said, uncovered so many explosives at a school that it filled seven 7-ton military trucks.

Plenzler also said Iraqi forces loyal to Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, shelled parts of Saddam City, "trying to kill Shiites."


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