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Iraqi children, 2 U.S. soldiers killed in separate blasts

Iraqi police and school officials view the school compound in Baghdad where two children were killed by an accidental grenade explosion.
Iraqi police and school officials view the school compound in Baghdad where two children were killed by an accidental grenade explosion.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two Iraqi children and two U.S. soldiers died in three separate explosions Monday in Iraq, coalition and Iraqi officials said.

The two children died and another was injured in the accidental explosion of a hand grenade that apparently had been discarded in a schoolyard trash can, Iraqi Police Brigadier Gen. Jaafar Abdul Rasoul said.

The children were playing nearby when the schoolmaster burned the trash and the grenade exploded, according to Rasoul.

The accident happened around 2 p.m. (6 a.m. ET) Monday at an elementary school in the Khadimiya district of central Baghdad, U.S. military spokesman Brigadier Gen. Mark Kimmitt said.

Earlier, in an attack north of Baghdad, a soldier was killed and four others were wounded by an exploding roadside bomb, according to a U.S. military spokesman. The blast ripped into a convoy at Ba'qubah, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, at 9:40 a.m. (1:40 a.m. ET), a U.S. military spokesman said.

Another roadside bombing Monday in central Baghdad killed a U.S. military police officer attached to the Army's 1st Armored Division and injured another, according to a coalition military spokesman.

The blast occurred about 9:20 a.m. (1:20 a.m. ET) as a three-vehicle patrol passed what the military said was a suspected improvised explosive device. The injured soldier is being treated at a field hospital in Baghdad, the spokesman said.

The latest deaths bring the number of U.S. troops killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom to 542 -- 376 under hostile circumstances, according to U.S. military figures.

Over the weekend, an ambush on a taxi carrying American members of a religious group in Iraq killed one American and wounded three others as they traveled from Babylon to Baghdad, Kimmitt said Monday.

The Americans -- who were not identified -- were traveling in an Iraqi taxi when attackers in a white sedan ambushed them with small arms fire, he said.

Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division found the survivors Saturday in an Iraqi hospital, according to officials. The wounded Americans were later released after being treated in a U.S. combat hospital, Kimmitt said.

Other developments

• The mayor of Fallujah was among those called in for questioning in the U.S.-led coalition's investigation of the raid on the police station that left 20 officers dead, a U.S. military official said Monday. (Full story)

• Former regional Baath party chairman Muhammad Zimam Abd al-Razzaq al Sadun -- No. 41 on the U.S.-led coalition's list of most wanted Iraqis -- was captured Sunday in a Baghdad suburb, Iraqi and coalition officials said. The capture brings the total number of most-wanted Iraqi figures in custody to 42 of the 55 on the list, according to U.S. Central Command. Two on the list are dead and two others are suspected to be dead, the Pentagon said.

• The U.S.-led coalition's top civilian administrator said Sunday that Iraqi security forces will not be ready to take over their nation's security when it plans to hand sovereignty back to the Iraqi people on June 30. "It is quite clear the Iraqi security forces, brave as they are and beaten and attacked as they are, are not going to be ready by July 1," L. Paul Bremer said. "There will have to be an international presence here after the sovereign government comes into power the first of July."

• John Kelly, 49, pastor of the Curtis Corner Baptist Church in Wakefield, Rhode Island, died Saturday when a gunman opened fire on a taxi in which he and three other American ministers were riding south of Baghdad Saturday. The three pastors received only minor wounds. Friends believe Kelly was targeted for assassination because he was helping to start a Baptist church in Iraq, but they vow his mission will continue.

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