9 US Soldiers Killed In Iraq; Bombers Attack Shiite Pilgrims

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Nine American soldiers died in explosions north of Baghdad, the U.S. military announced Tuesday after the deadliest single day for U.S. troops in Iraq in nearly a month.

Six soldiers died when a bomb exploded Monday near their vehicles during a combat operation in Salahuddin province, the military said. Another three soldiers died the same day in a roadside bomb attack in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

Shiites, too, came under attack as they streamed south, mostly on foot, toward a shrine in Karbala ahead of a weekend holiday. Two suicide bombers exploded themselves in a crowd of pilgrims in Hillah, about 60 miles south of the capital, killing at least 10 people, police said.

In Baghdad, U.S. forces continued their push into Sadr City, home to 2.5 million of the city's poorest residents as well as fighters loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Some 600 American soldiers searched the neighborhood's northwest quadrant, knocking on doors and searching homes, according to an Associated Press reporter traveling with them.