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Eight U.S. troops killed in Iraq

  • Story Highlights
  • Suicide bomber in northern Iraq kills six, including five police officers
  • Car bomb in Baghdad kills at least 26 Iraqis, injures at least 75
  • U.S. military reports eight U.S. troop deaths in recent days
  • President Bush urges Congress to pass defense funding bill
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military on Thursday reported eight recent troop deaths in Iraq.

A U.S. soldier from Multi-National Division-Baghdad was killed Wednesday "during a small-arms fire engagement" in southern Baghdad, the military said.

Three Marines and one sailor assigned to Multi National Force-West died Tuesday during combat in Diyala province.

Also, a soldier in the Diyala capital of Baquba died Tuesday of wounds from a roadside bomb. Diyala province is the sprawling territory northeast of Baghdad on the border with Iran.

A soldier was killed Tuesday in Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated during clearing operations, the military said.

And a Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Sunday "in a noncombat related incident" in Anbar province, it said.

The U.S. military death toll since the war began in 2003 stands at 3638; seven civilian employees of the Defense Department have also been killed.

In other violence, at least 26 people were killed and at least 75 were wounded Thursday when a car bomb detonated in the main street of central Baghdad's Karrada district, Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

At least one building and several cars were burning after the blast in the predominantly Shiite district, Reuters news agency reported.

A Reuters cameraman said people were carrying bodies from the scene of the explosion and putting wounded people in vans headed to hospitals. Short bursts of gunfire could be heard soon after the blast, Reuters reported.

A suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed six people, including five police officers.

The bomber detonated an explosives belt at a checkpoint in Tal Abta, about 55 miles west of Mosul, police said. Thirteen people, including 10 police officers, were were wounded.

Also Thursday, police found 20 bodies dumped across the capital, the Interior Ministry said. The slain bodies are thought to be the result of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence. The number of such deaths this month stands at 524.

The U.S. military said Thursday that U.S.-led coalition air teams killed 14 insurgents this week during fighting in Diyala province, where U.S. and Iraqi troops have been turning up the pressure against militants.

Helicopters backing up ground troops killed the insurgents in two incidents Tuesday, the military said.

Diyala is the site of the U.S. military's Operation Arrowhead Ripper, a campaign begun last month to fight insurgents. It is not known whether the Tuesday battles were part of Arrowhead Ripper, which started in and near Baquba, the provincial capital.

The U.S. commander of Task Force Lightning in northern Iraq, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, told CNN on Wednesday that the operation is making progress.

"We have taken Baquba back from the enemy. We have pushed them into the Diyala River valley and are continuing to attack them in the Diyala River valley," he said.

Back in the United States, President Bush on Thursday chided members of Congress for "dragging their feet" by failing to ensure that spending bills are passed to keep government running.

"In a time of war, one spending bill should take precedence over all the rest," Bush said in a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "So at the very least, members of Congress ought to finish the spending bill for the Department of Defense so I can sign it into law. We've got troops in harm's way. They need to exercise their responsibility."

The Defense Department spending bill for the 2008 budget year includes money for the war in Iraq, which is costing Americans about $10 billion a month.

If no measures are passed before the congressional recess begins August 6, Democratic leaders will be to blame, Bush said, because they control the flow of legislation.

"There's time to do it. I'll hang around if they want me to. Get the bill passed," he said.

The president also repeated his defense of his decision to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, and said Americans should support the U.S. commander there, Gen. David Petraeus.

"I believe it's in the interest of this country, for our own security, for the United States Congress to fully support Gen. Petraeus in his mission and give him time to report back to the United States Congress the progress that he's making," Bush said.

That report, to be co-authored by Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, is due in mid-September. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

All About Iraq WarU.S. Armed Forces ActivitiesBaghdadGeorge W. Bush

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