4 U.S. soldiers killed by suicide car bomb in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide car bomber struck a U.S. patrol on Monday, killing four American soldiers and an interpreter in the northern city of Mosul, the military said. It was the deadliest single attack against U.S. forces in more than nine months.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide car bomber struck a U.S. patrol on Monday, killing four American soldiers and an interpreter in the northern city of Mosul, the military said. It was the deadliest single attack against U.S. forces in more than nine months.

The explosion took place near a police checkpoint in a volatile Sunni area of Mosul, according to Iraqi police. The U.S. military has described Mosul as the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq. The city has also seen a recent rise in ethnic tensions amid a power struggle between Kurds and Arabs.

The U.S. military said three soldiers were killed at the site, and that another soldier and an interpreter died later of wounds from the blast.

An Iraqi police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information, said three Iraqis, including two policemen, also were wounded.

The last time four U.S. troops were killed in a single attack in Iraq was May 2, 2008, when four Marines died during combat in Anbar province, a former insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.


At least 4,243 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Meanwhile, two senior Iraqi security officials said Monday that Iraqi officials are interrogating four Iraqis transferred here from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. An Iraqi Shiite woman said the four include her brother who disappeared in northern Iraq 10 years ago.

The men were arrested in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo before being handed over to the Iraqis last month, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

President Barack Obama has ordered the detention center in Cuba closed within a year as part of his overhaul of U.S. national security policy. An estimated 245 men are being held, most of whom have been detained for years without being charged.

"We have interrogated four Iraqi men who are now in our custody," one of the officials said, adding that the detainees included a Shiite from the southern city of Basra. He did not give the former detainees' names.

However, a Shiite woman in Basra told the AP that the International Committee of the Red Cross informed her family Sunday that her brother, Hassan Abdul-Hadi Abdul-Said al-Jawhar, had been transferred from Guantanamo and was somewhere in Iraq.

But Neda Abdul-Hadi said the family had not been able to communicate with the brother and had received no word from Iraqi authorities about his whereabouts.

"I don't even know whom to call," she said by telephone from Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad.


The Red Cross told the AP that it would not comment on individual cases. The Pentagon announced Jan. 17 that it had transferred six detainees from Guantanamo -- four to Iraq and the others to Algeria and Afghanistan but did not give their names.

Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said his department, which runs prisons in Iraq, had not received any ex-detainees from Guantanamo, adding "I really have no idea at all about that."

That suggests Iraqi security and intelligence officers are holding the four until they can determine if they pose a threat or might try to link up with extremists groups if they were set free.

Abdul-Hadi said her brother -- one of only two sons among 10 siblings -- disappeared in 1999 while serving with the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein in northern Iraq.

His relatives heard nothing from him until 2004, when they received a letter from Hassan saying he was in Guantanamo.

"We received a handwritten letter from him almost every three months," she said. "He would only tell us about his well-being and send his love to the family, but nothing about his arrest or why he was in Guantanamo."

She said the family was relieved to hear from him after so many years but was stunned to find out that he had ended up in a prison allegedly for some of the world's most hardened al-Qaida and Taliban extremists.

Shiites are rare in the ranks of al-Qaida, which considers them heretics.


"I never knew him to be overly religious or extreme in his faith," Abdul-Hadi said. "He seemed really well the last time I saw him. He was a happy, merry person. There was no reason I would see why he would run away."

Meanwhile, she said her family was growing frustrated at the lack of information about Hassan.

"My dad is in the hospital and very sick. He can't help us to find him," Abdul-Hadi said. "This issue is really exhausting us and we are very worried. My mother has had very high blood pressure for days now. She is very upset to know her son is in Iraq but doesn't know how to get in touch with him, or even where he is."

Before the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, some U.S. officials alleged there were links between Saddam's regime and al-Qaida, and the possibility that the two might conspire to launch attacks in the U.S. were among Washington's reasons for going to war.

Subsequent reports by the Senate Selecy Committee on Intelligence and the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks concluded there was no evidence of such links.

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