21 soldiers die in Iraq

Sunni insurgents killed 21 people including a US and a British soldier in fresh violence in Iraq, as the country’s former leader Saddam Hussein went on trial on Wednesday. A US soldier was killed by a makeshift bomb while on patrol in Al Iskandariyah, north of Baghdad, the US military said in a statement on Wednesday. Two soldiers were wounded in the attack, which took place late on Tuesday, and were being treated at a hospital.

A British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq late on Tuesday night, the Ministry of Defence said. A ministry spokesman said that the soldier had died in Basra “as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb. We will be revealing more details once next of kin have been informed”.

Prime Minister Tony Blair sent his condolences to the killed British soldier’s family and told parliament he had been doing a “vital job” in securing Iraq’s move to democracy.

The day’s fatalities included six Shias, who were lined up at a factory and shot dead, and three election commission officials killed on the outskirts of the capital in Abu Ghraib, police said.A bomb also went off at a famous monument in a Baghdad square honouring Abu Jaafar Al-Mansour, the eighth-century founder of Baghdad to whom Saddam often compared himself. The blast, which caused no injuries, appeared to be a jab at the former dictator.

Wednesday’s worst insurgent attack occurred in a mostly Sunni region south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death because of all its militant groups.

Around nine militants barged into a building materials factory near Iskandariyah, lined up all the workers and forced Shia workers to identify themselves, said police Lt Col Khalil Mohammed. The militants then tied up the hands of the Shias, shot them to death in front of the other workers and fled in several stolen company cars, Mohammed said, reports Daily Times. I.L.

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