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Nearly 50 Insurgents Killed in US Operations North and South of Baghdad

Thousands of American troops are combing areas north and south of Baghdad as U.S. forces intensify operations against al-Qaida in Iraq and allied militants.

The U.S. military says it has killed 41 insurgents and seized large quantities of weapons during operations in Diyala province, an al-Qaida stronghold northeast of Baghdad.

The military says another five insurgents were killed and 62 suspects detained in a simultaneous offensive southeast of the city in the Arab Jabour area. It also says forces destroyed 17 boats on the Tigris River used to transport explosive materials into Baghdad.

A military statement says two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday in a roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad.

Separately, the U.S. military says American and Iraqi soldiers discovered an orphanage this month housing 24 severely malnourished and abused boys in a Baghdad neighborhood.

The boys, ages 3 to 15 years old, were found naked in a darkened room, with many tied to their beds.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Tuesday's truck bombing outside a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad rose to 87. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the attack on Sunni extremists.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.