U.S. soldiers killed, wounded in explosion north of Iraqi capital

TARMIYAH, Iraq (AP) A bomb blast killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded eight others north of Iraq's capital on Friday, the military said.

Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a spokesman for the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said "a U.S. patrol was hit by an IED," or improvised explosive device, the term used by the military to describe a homemade bomb. "There are three soldiers killed and eight soldiers wounded."

Witnesses said the attack took place around midday in Tarmiyah, 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad.

Two residents, including an Associated Press reporter who rushed to the scene after the blast, saw about a dozen U.S. soldiers who'd been injured laying on blood-splattered ground after the attack.

"I was heading to our house ... there was a group of American soldiers walking in the road while around five Humvees were parking behind them," said Waleed Nahed, 35, who lives in the area. "I heard a very loud explosion and I saw bodies flying."

He added that he was about 200 meters way and "I think there was explosives hidden among the palm trees overlooking the street."

Nahed and Alaa Nagy, 22, who works as a guard for factory nearby, both said helicopters landed in the area 15 minutes after the explosion and loaded the casualties onto the choppers, flying them away for medical treatment.

Both said they heard gunfire after the incidents.

The road was immediately blocked off by Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops.

As of Thursday, at least 1,486 members of the U.S. military had died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

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