Iraqi officials blame Al-Qaeda for Tikrit attack; Two US soldiers killed by militants
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  • Iraqi officials have stressed that Al-Qaeda linked Sunni militants were responsible for a bloody siege in Tikrit in which 56 people were killed. A fierce gun-battle ended when the attackers - numbering about eight - blew themselves up. Among the dead were local government officials and an Iraqi journalist. Another 100 people were injured in the attack. Tikrit - the capital of Salahuddin province - was once a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency which followed the American-led invasion of 2003. Shortly afterwards, a curfew was imposed in Tikrit, about 160km (100 miles) north-west of Baghdad.1

    In another violent incident, the US military sources informed that two American soldiers have been killed by enemy forces during an attack in Iraq. In a statement released, the military said that the soldiers were killed by indirect fire on their unit. However, the statement did not give any details. The death raises to at least 4,443 the number of US military personnel who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. The U.S. ended combat operations in Iraq in September and will withdraw all troops from the country by the end of the year. About 47,000 American troops still remain in Iraq.2