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Three U.S. troops killed by roadside bomb

Green Zone rocket attack kills 6 civilians

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday in northwest Baghdad when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the U.S. military said.

Eight soldiers have been killed over the weekend, bringing the number of U.S. service members and military civilians killed in the Iraq war to 2,390.

On Saturday, five U.S. soldiers were killed south of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military.

Four were killed by a roadside bomb that exploded near their vehicle while they were on patrol, the military said.

Later, the military announced the death of another soldier from wounds suffered in a roadside bombing. It is not clear whether all of the deaths resulted from the same bombing.

There are about 132,000 U.S. service members in Iraq.

Six killed inside Green Zone

Six Iraqi civilians were killed and two others were wounded early Sunday when a Katyusha rocket landed at the entrance to Iraq's Defense Ministry, located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, police said.

The rocket landed at 8 a.m. (midnight ET) at the entrance used by both workers and nonemployees to enter the compound, the official said.

In a separate incident Sunday, police found six bodies with gunshot wounds in northern Baghdad, an emergency police official said. The victims had not been identified.

Four mortar rounds landed in other parts of Baghdad Sunday, but there were no casualties reported, he said.

Political stalemate solved

Earlier, Iraq finally completed the names for its top jobs -- more than four months after its historic general election.

A political deadlock appeared to have been broken Saturday, with Jawad al-Maliki asked to be prime minister-designate and form a new government.

Al-Maliki, a Shiite, was nominated a day earlier to replace interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose nomination had created a deadlock between Iraq's political parties. (Watch politicians break the stalemate -- 1:12)

Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, who was re-elected president by the parliament, asked Al-Maliki to form an administration.

Speaking from California, where he was attending an alternative energy event, President Bush said: "This historic achievement by determined Iraqis will make America more secure." (Full story)

The formation of a new government has dealt a blow, Bush said, to "the enemies of freedom. ... The Iraqis are showing the world that democracy is worth the wait."

The prime minister-designate has a month to choose his ministers and present the list to parliament, Adnan Pachachi told CNN.

If parliament votes in favor, the government will begin work. But if al-Maliki's Cabinet fails to gain support, someone else will be appointed to form a government, Pachachi said.

On Friday, the Shiite-led political bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance, put forward al-Maliki of the Dawa Party as its candidate to replace al-Jaafari.

Sunni Arab politician Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was chosen as the new speaker of the Council of Representatives. A Shiite, Khalid al-Attiya, and a Kurd, Aref Tayfour, were elected as his deputies.

A total of 266 members from the 275-seat body gathered for the key meeting, which had been delayed repeatedly and was finally held more than four months after the general election.

Before parliament convened, several members joined al-Maliki and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad to iron out details on what would unfold.

Other developments

  • Sen. John Kerry said on Saturday that the United States should impose a May 15 deadline on the Iraqi parliament to form "an effective unity government ... or we will immediately withdraw our military." The Massachusetts Democrat also called for "a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end," saying that doing so will "empower the new Iraqi leadership." Kerry's comments came on the 35th anniversary of his appearance as a Vietnam veteran on Capitol Hill urging an end to that war.
  • The Australian military suffered its first death Friday, a soldier who shot himself in the head in what was described as a "tragic accident," according to the military. Defense Minister Brendan Nelson said the soldier's death was not a suicide. (Full story)
  • British engineer Kenneth Bigley was buried near Falluja after a mock trial, sentencing and beheading in 2004 following his abduction, according to a militant who claims to have been involved. Lawyers for Syrian-born Louai al Sakka said Saturday the militant made the claim and revealed other details "after growing demands of the British media and family." (Full story)
  • CNN's Auday Sadek, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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