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Iraq Car Bombing Kills 3 US Soldiers - 2003-12-24

U.S. military officials in Iraq say a roadside bomb north of Baghdad killed three American soldiers, and in a separate attack, four people died in a suicide bombing in northern Iraq.

Officials said the soldiers' vehicle was traveling near the town of Samarra Wednesday, when it struck an explosive device.

Meanwhile, in the northern Kurdish city of Arbil, a car packed with explosives detonated just outside the gate of the Interior Ministry headquarters. Two police guards and two bystanders were killed, and dozens were injured. The bomber also died in the blast, which damaged the building and nearby cars.

Also Wednesday, U.S. military aircraft and artillery struck suspected guerrilla hideouts during an anti-insurgent operation before dawn in southwestern Baghdad.

Media reports say it was one of the most intense military actions in the region in recent weeks. U.S. military officials say the operation focused on insurgents who might step up attacks on coalition targets around the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, coalition forces detained dozens of suspected insurgents in a series of raids targeting former members of the Iraqi regime.

Troops captured two former Iraqi generals and a special forces colonel near the volatile town of Fallujah.

In Baquba, north of the capital, coalition forces detained a man suspected of recruiting insurgents, as well as five other suspects. At least three are suspected of having ties to former Iraqi Vice President Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.