US troops killed in Iraq suicide attack

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A suicide attack in Iraq has killed at least nine US troops and has injured around 20 more people.

The car bomber targeted a patrol base north-east of Baghdad in what is thought to be one of the deadliest attacks upon coalition troops since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Located in the troubled province of Diyala, the attack is likely to heighten tensions between insurgents and coalition and Iraqi forces in an area already affected by fierce fighting.

Of the injured, military officials advised that 15 soldiers were treated and returned to duty while four troops and an Iraqi civilian remain in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries.

The attack comes one day after the Iraqi city of Ramadi was hit by three car bombs, killing 20 people.

In the same day ten police officers in Baquba were killed by a separate suicide car bomb attack.

"We have seen a lot of recent attacks up in Diyala... that have been part of the fight for the province," US military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver, told the Reuters news agency.

Increased violence and fighting in the war-torn country has taken April's US troop death count to 85, a figure likely to trouble Americans as president George Bush continues to be pressured for a timetable for bringing the troops back home.

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