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Iraq blast hurts 7 U.S. troops

BAGHDAD — Seven American soldiers and a linguist traveling with them were wounded in a bomb blast as they walked out of a meeting with local government officials in northern Iraq, a U.S. military spokesman said Monday.

The incident occurred Sunday in Al Sharqat, a town about 200 miles north of Baghdad. The soldiers had traveled to the town, in generally peaceful Salahuddin province, to discuss possible U.S. military participation in several projects, including renovating schools and medical facilities, said Lt. Sean P. Riordan, a military spokesman in Baghdad. They were transported to a nearby base for treatment, but the extent of their injuries was not known.

U.S. combat troops pulled out of most Iraq cities and towns on June 30, but some remain as trainers and advisers. The military did not comment on what the troops were doing in Al Sharqat.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in the northern city of Kirkuk on Monday on a previously unannounced visit to meet Iraqi and American political and security officials. Kirkuk, contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, sits atop billions of barrels of oil and is among the most violent places in Iraq.

Despite a sharp drop in violence across Iraq in the past 18 months, bombings and other insurgent attacks continue. On Monday, a roadside bomb in Baghdad wounded seven people, including three police officers.

Fast facts

Back after injury

For the first time since he was seriously injured by an explosion in Iraq in 2006, Bob Woodruff, the ABC News correspondent, returned to the war zone on Monday. Woodruff, 47, is perhaps the highest-profile member of the news media to be wounded in the war. Before the explosion, he was a co-anchor of ABC's evening newscast. Woodruff is among the reporters accompanying Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on an overseas trip.

Iraq blast hurts 7 U.S. troops 07/13/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 13, 2009 10:14pm]
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