Two American soldiers were killed and four others wounded on one of the deadliest days for US troops in postwar Iraq.
An eight-vehicle US Army convoy was attacked early Monday by unidentified gunmen while on a resupply mission near Hadithah, a town about 190km northwest of Baghdad, US Central Command said.
One soldier was killed and another wounded in the attack, US military officials said.
The command said the ambush happened at 6:15am and that the troops belonged to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is based at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The assailants used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack, the latest of several on coalition forces this month. The statement said helicopters were immediately dispatched to the area to find the gunmen.
Later Monday, US Central Command issued a statement saying a US soldier was killed and three injured when a Humvee ran over a land mine or unexploded ordnance at about 5pm in an apparently hostile act. Other patrols in the area came to help the soldiers.
"The incident ... appears to be a result of hostile action, though the specific circumstances of the incident are unconfirmed," the military said in a statement.
It did not provide more details, but witnesses in the well-off Baghdad neighborhood of Yarmouk said they heard several explosions and a 15-minute burst of gunfire along the road to the airport, west of the capital.
A US soldier near the scene said it was an ambush and that at least one Humvee was destroyed.
An Associated Press reporter saw the Humvee, still burning, more than 90 minutes after the attack.
The road that connects Baghdad International Airport with the city is frequently used by US troops, many of whom are based at the airport. At least one other reported attack has taken place on that road in recent weeks.
* A woman holding hand two grenades was shot after warnings, soldiers said.
* One US soldiers was killed and one wounded in an attack on a Humvee.
Meanwhile, in Baqubah, 70km northeast of Baghdad, US soldiers shot and killed a woman who tried to approach them carrying two hand grenades. The shooting took place immediately after unknown attackers threw handheld explosives at US soldiers guarding a former base of the pro-Iranian Badr Corps in the town, Central Command said.
"Squad members verbally warned her several more times, but she continued to advance towards them. When she refused, the squad shot her several times. She fell to the ground, dropping one grenade, and continued to crawl towards them," the statement said. "The squad fired again, killing her."
The deaths occurred just one day after an American soldier of the 977th Military Police Company in Fort Riley, Kansas, was killed and another injured in an accidental munitions dump explosion near Diwaniyah, 150km south of Baghdad.
The injured soldier was transported to a field hospital, where he underwent surgery, the statement said.
The deaths come even as Iraq's civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer, said troops have done a great deal to re-establish stability, including turning on water and electricity and improving basic services, and will start a program to help the nation rebuild its economy.
But he acknowledged: "There is still a lot to do, there's no doubt."
Also Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said nuclear inspectors would return to Iraq by the end of the week to ensure nuclear material stored at the Tuwaitha complex southeast of the capital remains safe and accounted for.