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14 U.S. troops killed in 3 days in Iraq

Story Highlights

• 104 U.S. troops have been killed in April
• April is sixth deadliest month of war
• Bodies of 10 kidnapped fuel truck drivers found dumped north of Baghdad
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Fourteen U.S. soldiers and Marines were killed in Iraq during the past 72 hours, making April the sixth deadliest month of the Iraq war, according to the U.S. military.

A U.S. Marine was killed Sunday during combat operations in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, the military said Monday.

On Sunday, three soldiers were killed and another was wounded when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle during a combat patrol. An Iraqi interpreter also was killed in the attack.

On Saturday, five U.S. soldiers were killed in and around Baghdad.

A soldier died when his combat patrol was sprayed with small-arms fire. Three soldiers died and another was wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol southeast of Baghdad.

A fifth soldier died and two others were wounded in another roadside bombing south of Baghdad.

On Friday, three soldiers and the two Marines were killed during combat operations in Anbar province.

The number of U.S. military personnel killed in the Iraq war stands at 3,351, including seven Defense Department civilians. April is the sixth deadliest month of the war, with 104 U.S. fatalities.

It is the highest monthly death toll for the U.S. military since December.

Bodies of truck drivers found

The bodies of 10 fuel truck drivers were found dumped near Baiji, north of the capital, on Monday, a day after they and six others were kidnapped, Baiji police said.

The fate of the remaining six is unclear.

On Sunday morning, a group of gunmen traveling in 30 vehicles attacked the convoy of fuel tankers outside Samarra -- south of Baiji -- setting fire to the trucks before kidnapping the drivers, a Tikrit police official said.

The fuel tankers were heading from the Baiji oil refinery -- Iraq's largest -- to Ramadi, in Anbar province, the police official said.

Baiji oil workers are common targets for insurgent attacks. On Saturday, the head of security for the Baiji oil refinery and his driver were kidnapped as they were driving to work, Kirkuk police said.

Baiji is about 93 miles (150 kilometers) north of Baghdad in Salaheddin province.

Also Monday, Baghdad police reported the following violence:

  • A roadside bomb exploded at 9:30 a.m. in southwestern Baghdad's Bayaa neighborhood, killing one civilian and wounding two others.
  • A suicide car bomb exploded at 10 a.m. at a police checkpoint in western Baghdad's Mansour section, killing five people and wounding 12 others. Three of the dead and seven of the wounded were civilians.
  • Gunmen killed a former army general at 10:15 a.m. in the Saidiya district of southwestern Baghdad.
  • Around 4:30 p.m., a parked car bomb in the Bayaa neighborhood killed at least three civilians and wounded nine others.
  • Other developments

  • A suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest on Monday among a group of Shiite mourners in the town of Khalis, north of Baghdad, killing at least 10 and wounding 25 others, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.
  • Iran announced Sunday it will send a high-level delegation led by its foreign minister to this week's conference on Iraqi security despite a previous report that it would not attend the meeting unless the U.S. military released five Iranians in Iraq. (Full story)
  • Lt. Col. William H. Steele, former commander of the U.S. Army's Camp Cropper, a detention facility for "high-value" detainees, will face an Article 32 hearing Monday after being accused of "aiding the enemy" by providing cell phones to Iraqi detainees. The hearing is a preliminary procedure to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to order a full court-martial against Steele.
  • Poor construction, improper design, substandard materials and lack of maintenance have caused the failure of seven of eight U.S.-funded Iraq reconstruction projects that were recently reviewed by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, according to an Inspector General report. (Full story)
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Sunday his country has "no illusion" that U.S. troops will remain in Iraq on an open-ended mission, but he denounced the war spending bill passed last week by the U.S. Congress that calls for a withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq. "It was extremely unhelpful linking the funding of troops to a specific timetable," Zebari said. "It adversely affects our plans and the military plans here and emboldens our enemies."
  • CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

    A U.S. soldier patrols a Baghdad street Sunday.


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