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Iraq car bombs kill at least 39

43 people from Shiite province kidnapped in Sunni province

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A trio of morning car bomb attacks in Iraq on Tuesday killed at least 39 people -- most of them Iraqi soldiers -- and wounded more than 50 others, authorities said.

In the first attack, a roadside bomb hit a bus carrying members of the Iraqi military, who were traveling between Tikrit and Baiji, killing 23 soldiers and wounding 20 others, an official with the Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center told CNN. Tikrit is about 100 miles north of Baghdad in Salaheddin province.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense said a curfew was imposed in the region to help authorities hunt down those responsible.

Several hours later, at least 10 people were killed and 22 wounded when a suicide car bomber detonated near an Iraqi army convoy in the Karrada section of central Baghdad, police said.

According to police, the casualties were mainly soldiers, but no breakdown was given.

An attack in the same neighborhood last week killed at least 27 civilians and wounded 100 others.

In Muqdadiya, a car bomb targeted a police patrol, killing six people, including one police officer, and wounded nine others, including three police, the Diyala Joint Coordination Center said. Muqdadiya is about 60 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province.

Kidnappings soar in Anbar

In the last two days, 43 people from the predominantly Shiite province of Najaf have been kidnapped while traveling in Anbar, a province that is largely Sunni, the Najaf governor's office in Iraq confirmed Tuesday.

The abductions occurred in four incidents on the main highway between Ramadi and Hit, leading to Syria and Jordan, said an aide to Najaf Gov. Asaad Abu Kilal.

The kidnappings come during a nearly six-month escalation of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence, sparked by the bombing of the Askariya Mosque, a major Shiite shrine, in Samarra on February 22.

Coalition troops killed

A U.S. soldier was killed Tuesday in action in Anbar, according to the U.S. military, bringing the U.S. military death toll in Iraq to 2,578.

The soldier was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

On Monday a service member assigned to the 16th Corps Support Group died when a makeshift bomb struck the member's convoy south of Baghdad, the military said.

In the southern city of Basra, a British soldier assigned to the 1st Battalion Light Infantry was killed Tuesday when the base came under a mortar attack, the British Ministry of Defense told CNN.

This brings the number of British military fatalities in the Iraq war to 115.

Other developments

  • A naval investigation team has wrapped up its investigation into the murders of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, allegedly at the hands of U.S. Marines last year, U.S. military officials told CNN. Some Marines are expected to be charged. (Full story)
  • A U.S. military hearing began Tuesday to determine whether four U.S. soldiers charged with murder in Iraq should face court-martial proceedings. The allegations stem from the shooting deaths of three detainees during an operation in Salaheddin province in May.
  • Democratic leaders from the U.S. House and Senate have called on President Bush to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year. (Full story)
  • CNN producer Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report

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