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Iraq Transition

Four Marines killed in Iraq tank accident


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Four U.S. Marines died in Iraq when their tank rolled off a bridge into a canal, the U.S. military said.

The deaths were not the result of enemy action, the military said.

The Marines were traveling in a M1A1 Abrams tank when the accident occurred Thursday near Karma in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, according to the military.

The four were assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, the military said.

On Thursday, roadside bombs killed three U.S. soldiers in separate incidents southwest of Baghdad, the military said.

Two soldiers died when a bomb hit their vehicle while they were on patrol, the military said. Another soldier also was killed while on patrol.

In addition, a U.S. soldier died Tuesday from nonhostile-related wounds near the northern city of Mosul, the military said. An investigation into the cause of the soldier's death is under way.

The deaths this week brought to 2,427 the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.

Judge's son killed

The son of Chief Judge Midhat al-Mahmoud of the Higher Judicial Council was among three people killed Friday in northern Baghdad, police said.

Gunmen opened fire on Ahmed al-Mahmoud and his two guards while they were driving through the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya, police said.

Adhamiya has been the site of many clashes in recent weeks between insurgents and Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops.

U.S.: Civilian attacks rising

Al Qaeda in Iraq is increasingly attacking civilians, a U.S. military spokesman said Thursday, blaming terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for inciting violence between Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said attacks against civilians in the past 10 weeks months have increased 80 percent since November.

"This is what [al-Zarqawi is] telling his people that we have to do -- 'We have to drive a wedge between the Shia population and the Sunni population inside of Baghdad.' "

The general said the group is targeting Shiites, who make up 60 percent of the Iraqi population but only came to power after Saddam Hussein's ouster. Sunnis controlled the country under Hussein's reign.

The Baghdad morgue reported that 1,091 people were killed in the city's daily violence in April, the Iraqi president's office said this week.

The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi is trying to "move the Shias from mixed neighborhoods" and incite sectarian killings, Lynch said.

The U.S. military based its assessment on documents found in an April 16 raid in Yusufiya, south of Baghdad.

The troops also discovered the video of al-Zarqawi that the U.S. military released last week. (Full story)

Insurgents pose as Iraqi troops

American and Iraqi soldiers battled dozens of insurgents dressed in Iraqi army uniforms Thursday near Baquba, north of Baghdad, a U.S. military source said.

The military received a tip about the insurgents' presence in Arab Jubar, a village 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baquba. Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, has been a flash point for insurgent activity.

A man who identified himself as a village leader reported seeing Iraqi troops conducting a raid and detaining residents, the military said.

U.S. and Iraqi forces went to investigate, and they found insurgents wearing Iraqi army uniforms and riding in trucks and sport utility vehicles painted in camouflage to look like Iraqi military vehicles, according to the military.

Some insurgents escaped in a small truck, and others were killed or captured. There were conflicting reports as to how many insurgents died. It also was unclear how many were detained.

Posing as Iraqi security forces is a tactic commonly used by insurgents, who sometimes establish fake checkpoints to ambush their targets.

Other developments

  • A police officer was wounded when a bomb exploded near his convoy Friday morning in eastern Baghdad, police said.
  • A car bomb exploded near the office of the Dawa party Friday in southeastern Baghdad, but no one was injured.
  • An Iraqi soldier was shot dead Friday when gunmen fired at a convoy in western Baghdad.
  • The withdrawal of a small Shiite political party from government-formation talks may clear the way for the selection of the key post of Iraqi oil minister. The Fadhila party -- a small but influential group in the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance -- said Friday it was withdrawing from talks because of U.S. involvement. The party had been politicking for its candidate against Hussain al-Shahristani, whom larger groups in the Shiite bloc favor. Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki is working to meet a May 22 deadline to present a government to parliament, which must approve the list.
  • Five garbage collectors were killed and another wounded Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad's upscale Mansour neighborhood, Iraqi emergency police said. Also in Mansour, gunmen killed an attorney with the Karkh Court's civil investigation unit. Siras Mohammed was gunned down as he was driving his car near the courthouse, police said.
  • CNN's Arwa Damon, Jennifer Deaton and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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