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Iraqi Bomb Disposal Experts Killed in Blast

At least 15 people, including 11 Iraqi bomb disposal experts have been killed in Baghdad after they were called in to defuse a truck loaded with rockets that later exploded. Daniel Schearf reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

Iraqi officials Wednesday said most of the dead and injured from Tuesday's blast were Iraqi bomb disposal experts. The experts had been called into the Al-Obeidi suburb of Baghdad after police found a rocket launcher mounted on a truck and a stash of live rockets.

Jihad al-Jabiri is head of the anti-bomb squad at Iraq's Interior Ministry.

Al-Jabiri says the terrorists had booby-trapped the truck holding the rockets with explosives hidden under sand bags, which the men accidentally set off. Al-Jabri says the blast was huge and ignited the rockets, killing 11 bomb experts and three Iraqi policemen.

Police found the booby-trapped truck while investigating a rocket attack Tuesday on a U.S. military base that injured four U.S. soldiers.

Also Tuesday, a roadside bomb killed three American soldiers patrolling in northwest Baghdad.

The rocket attack was the second in two days. On Monday, rockets rained down on a housing compound near Baghdad international airport and a U.S. military base killing five Iraqis and wounding 16, including Iraqi children and two U.S. soldiers.

Both rocket attacks came from majority Shiite areas of Baghdad, underscoring concerns that a cease-fire by a Shiite militia might be broken.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Iraq's radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the cleric would decide by Saturday whether or not his Mahdi Army would extend a six-month cease-fire.

U.S. officials say the cease-fire has reduced sectarian violence in Iraq and are hoping it will continue.

Attacks have dropped by 60 percent since the cease-fire began, added to a surge in U.S. troops, stepped-up Iraqi security, and cooperation with Sunni militias.

Also Wednesday Iraqi authorities said a suicide bomber killed at least seven people and wounded 15 in the town of Muqdadiya northeast of Baghdad.

In other violence, gunmen in the northern city of Mosul killed four policemen and a suicide car bomber in Tal Afar, near the Syrian border, killed one woman and wounded several others.