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2 US Soldiers Killed in Baghdad Roadside Bombing - 2004-02-12

Two American soldiers were killed in Baghdad late Wednesday following a deadly bombing that killed more than 50 people. American authorities and members of Iraq's governing council say their plans will not be halted by the continued violence.

The two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday night by a roadside bomb. A U.S. military spokesman also said one soldier was wounded by the explosion that happened as the American convoy passed on a Baghdad street.

News of the two deaths brought to an end a bloody day in the Iraqi capital following a massive car bombing at an army recruitment center that killed more than 50 people. It was the second car bomb in less than 24 hours, following a similar attack on Tuesday south of Baghdad. Tuesday's incident also killed more than 50 people at an Iraqi police station in the town of Iskandariyah as people lined up outside to apply for jobs.

U.S. officials have in recent days said they have obtained evidence of al Qaida involvement in the insurgency, but officials say the increase in the number of Iraqi security forces is making it harder for insurgents to operate.

Members of the U.S. appointed Iraqi Governing Council were also defiant in the face of the deadly attacks this week and say they will keep working towards a planned handover of power to Iraqis by the end of June.

"Their aim is clear: destabilize Iraq and impede the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis," said Hamid Kifiy, the Governing Council Spokesman. "They want to keep Iraq occupied and kill our hopes of establishing a democratic system in the country. We say this to them; let there be no doubt that we are going ahead with our plans to regain sovereignty and establish democracy. Our determination to proceed with our plans is undiminished."

Meanwhile, a U.N. team that is in Iraq to determine the feasibility of early elections, has met Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the main force behind the push for elections.

The United States maintains there is not enough time to hold general elections by the power transfer deadline, and prefers instead to hand power over to an interim authority picked in regional caucuses.