Six American soldiers killed in Iraq

Six American soldiers were killed in two bombings on Monday, the military said, making October one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in Iraq this year. In the worst attack, four Task Force Baghdad soldiers died when their patrol struck the device in Youssifiyah, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Baghdad, the military said.

The other explosion hit a patrol near Balad, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers from the 29th Brigade Combat Team.

The deaths raised 2,024 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Monday's attacks raised the death toll for American forces in October to more than 90, making it the deadliest month in 2005 for U.S. troops in Iraq since January, when 107 were killed.

Elsewhere, U.S. jets bombed two insurgent "safe houses" near the Syrian border Monday in an attack aimed at al-Qaida in Iraq, and coalition forces swept through several areas of Baghdad, taking nearly 100 suspected militants into custody, the U.S. command said.

Two separate mortar attacks in Baghdad and northern Iraq killed three people and wounded 11.

In other strikes in the capital, two car bombs and five drive-by shootings killed five Iraqis and wounded 10, police said. The body of an Iraqi civilian who had been kidnapped and killed in captivity also was found dumped on a city street.

The violence was the latest in a string of attacks by Sunni-led militants. On Sunday, gunmen killed Ghalib Abdul-Mahdi, the brother of Shiite Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and a top trade ministry official escaped assassination in another part of the capital.

The U.S. command also announced Sunday that a Marine died of injuries suffered the day before in a roadside bombing west of the capital.

Marines supported by warplanes and helicopters have been raiding targets in towns and villages near Iraq's desolate border with Syria in an effort to disrupt Iraqi and foreign insurgents, the AP says.

Early Monday, U.S. jets attacked a "safe house" apparently being used by a senior al-Qaida in Iraq cell leader in Obeidi, a border town 300 kilometers (185 miles) west of Baghdad, the military said. The jets also used precision-guided munitions to attack a second house suspected of being a base for attacks against American and Iraqi forces, the U.S. command said.

Its statement mentioned no casualties and did not identify the al-Qaida in Iraq leader by name. At the local hospital, Dr. Ahmed al-Ani claimed 40 Iraqis, including 12 children, were killed in the attack. But the claim could not be independently verified.

U.S. officials also reported a Saudi-born al-Qaida militant known only as Abu Saud was killed by coalition forces Saturday near Obeidi.