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Suicide Bomber Kills Afghan Schoolchildren, Wounds Italian Soldiers

Afghan officials say several schoolchildren were among those killed Saturday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a group of Italian soldiers who were constructing a bridge.

Authorities say the blast killed seven people and wounded nine outside the capital, Kabul. Italian military officials say an Italian soldier was among the dead, while three other Italian soldiers were wounded.

Witnesses say a crowd that included children had gathered to watch the soldiers work on the bridge.

This year, suicide bombers have carried out more than 130 attacks in Afghanistan, and more than six thousand people have died in insurgency-related violence.

On Friday, an Australian soldier was killed in fighting with Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan.

Australian officials say the 26-year-old member of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was part of operation targeting Taliban bomb-makers in southern Uruzgan province.

The soldier was the third Australian killed in Afghanistan in recent months.

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