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Iraq: Two U.S. Soldiers Killed In North

Baghdad, 20 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Two U.S. soldiers were killed early today and another was injured when their convoy came under rocket-propelled-grenade and small-arms fire in northern Iraq. The U.S. military in Baghdad said the soldiers were from the 101st Airborne Division.

The attack occurred near Tal Afar, just west of the northern city of Mosul and about 400 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.

U.S. soldiers have come under increasing attacks in recent weeks. The deaths bring to 151 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since the 20 March start of the war.

Most of the recent violence has occurred in an area north and west of Baghdad called the "Sunni Triangle," where some support for Saddam Hussein remains. Mosul is north of the Sunni Triangle and has not been the site of much previous violence.

The new trouble came as the U.S. said a 6,500-strong Iraqi civilian-defense force will be set up to patrol with U.S. forces.