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Roadside Bomb in Iraq Kills 5 US Soldiers

A roadside bomb has killed five American soldiers in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

The U.S. military said in a statement Monday that after the explosion, gunmen opened fire on the rest of the patrol from a nearby mosque. The statement said Iraqi soldiers entered the mosque, but found the gunmen had fled.

On Sunday, Iraqi tanks and helicopters began arriving in Mosul with troop reinforcements -- ahead of a planned offensive announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Separately, U.S. troops have detained 18 suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants in two days of anti-terrorist operations that ended Monday in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Australia has announced its intention to withdraw 575 combat troops from Iraq by the middle of this year. Visiting Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington Monday that he did not think the withdrawal would affect the alliance between the two countries.

Smith said the troop withdrawal would be conducted in a manner that would minimize problems for the U.S.-led coalition. He also said Australia is ready to consider other ways of supporting Iraq's government.

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