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Five Soldiers Killed In Latest Attacks In Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Five Iraqi soldiers were shot execution-style at a checkpoint near Baghdad, authorities said today, in the latest sign of rising tensions as Iraq prepares to release the results of the March 7 election.

The Iraqi Army surrounded the town of Radwaniya, west of Baghdad, where the attack occurred late on March 23. Troops limited access as they searched for the gunmen, officials said.

"Gunmen used silencers and killed two of our soldiers at the checkpoint and then entered to kill the others inside their room [at the checkpoint] and fled without drawing attention," said a military intelligence officer who asked not to be named.

"They shot them in the head, which means they executed them," the officer said.

The Baghdad security spokesman's office confirmed that gunmen killed the soldiers in an attack on the checkpoint.

Violence has dropped sharply during the last two years after sectarian warfare that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-07. But authorities have reported a rash of attacks since a parliamentary election Iraqis hoped would help stabilize the country.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) is scheduled to release a preliminary 100 percent vote count on March 26.