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16 Iraqi security forces killed in Iraq

Nation in third day of mourning for stampede victims

The mother and sister of a man killed in the stampede touch his coffin.



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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Sixteen Iraqi security forces died in three separate incidents Saturday in Diyala province north of Baghdad, police told CNN.

Also, the U.S. military reported Friday that three more American soldiers were killed this week, two by a roadside bomb and one by small arms fire. That brought the number of U.S. troop deaths in the Iraq war to 1,885.

Of the 16 Iraqis killed Saturday, seven police officers and two soldiers died when insurgents with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a joint army and police checkpoint near Buhriz, near Baquba. Two police officers were wounded in the incident.

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed when gunmen attacked their checkpoint with small arms fire on a road between Khalis and Adhaim.

Five police officers were killed by gunmen who opened fire at a police checkpoint in Baquba. It happened on a bridge in in the al-Mu'alimin neighborhood in the center of the city and the gunmen fled.

Mourning stampede victims

Meanwhile, the nation was in its third day of mourning the 965 Muslim pilgrims who drowned or were trampled to death Wednesday in a stampede during a religious procession.

More than 800 others were injured in the crush on a bridge in northern Baghdad.

Weeping families and friends held funeral processions on the streets of Baghdad as well as in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, and at last report, relatives are still arriving at hospitals to identify the dead.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari visited the hospital where many of the victims were taken.

The government announced that relatives of victims would be paid compensation of about $2,000 for every person lost.

The chaos began when rumors of an imminent suicide bombing spread through the more than 1 million people gathering at a Shiite shrine in the capital.

Authorities said they believe such talk created panic on the al-A'imma bridge over the Tigris River. During the commotion, a railing gave way, and people fell to the river below. (See video of the bridge jammed with people after the panic.)

Three hours earlier, an insurgent mortar attack near the same Kadhimiya mosque killed seven people and wounded 36 others.

Government officials are investigating that attack and the stampede. They said they also want to explore the extent of any "technical defects" on the bridge.

"This will leave a scar in our souls and will be remembered with those who died in the result of terror acts," President Jalal Talabani said.

The scale of the tragedy shocked the nation, prompting comparisons to stampedes at other religious events, such as those in Mecca during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday's ceremony is one that annually attracts millions of Shiite pilgrims to Baghdad.

The Shiite faithful converge on the Kadhimiya mosque to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Moussa al-Khadhem, a prominent figure in Shiite history buried there.

Security had been tight at the bridge, with barricades and searches adding to the congestion.

The bridge across the Tigris leads to the shrine and is an important juncture in Baghdad -- separating Kadhimiya from Adhamiya, a longtime insurgent stronghold with a strong Sunni Arab presence.

CNN's Enes Dulami, Cal Perry, Kianne Sadeq and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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