Bombs, gunmen kill 18 Iraqi and foreign troops
Roadside bombs killed eight British and American soldiers and gunmen shot dead 10 Iraqi troops in one of the bloodiest 24 hours in Iraq for coalition and Iraqi security forces in recent months.

Four British soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb that destroyed their armoured fighting vehicle when they were ambushed on the outskirts of Basra, said British military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Stratford-Wright. "The unit was involved in an operation elsewhere. As they were on their way back from the operation it was targeted by a roadside bomb in conjunction with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades," he said from Basra. The nationality of the interpreter was not clear, he said. The British military denied accusations by Iraqi police that British troops had stormed a police checkpoint close to the scene of the attack shortly afterwards and beaten some police.

Six British soldiers have been killed in Iraq this week, making it one of the deadliest for British forces to date. At least 140 British soldiers have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. More than 3,260 U.S. soldiers have been killed.

Gunmen also killed 10 Iraqi soldiers and wounded one in an attack on Thursday on their checkpoint near Mosul, an army source said. The source said at least 40 gunmen attacked the checkpoint at dawn northwest of Mosul, setting vehicles on fire and seizing the soldiers' weapons. "Apparently the soldiers were asleep when the attack happened. They were taken by surprise and did not have a chance to respond," said the army source, who declined to be named.

Separately, four American soldiers were killed by two roadside bombs in and around Baghdad on Wednesday, the U.S. military said. Those attacks followed a relatively quiet period in Baghdad, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have deployed thousands more troops to enforce a security crackdown regarded as a last-ditch attempt to stop the country tearing itself apart.
Posted by: Fred 2007-04-06