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Iraqis arrest Iranian-backed militia member in attack on U.S. base

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities have arrested a member of an Iranian-backed militia suspected in an attack that killed three U.S. soldiers in southern Iraq, police said Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Adil Daham, chief of the Basra provincial police, said the militiaman confessed early Saturday to the attack on a U.S. base near the airport. The soldiers were killed Thursday night in a rocket attack, the U.S. military said, in a rare assault on troops in the comparatively quiet south.

During a search of the house where the suspect and an aide were arrested, Iraqi officials say they seized four Iranian-made rockets and documents listing names of officials to be targeted.

U.S. military commanders believe some Shiite militias have received funds and training from Iran, which denies the charge.

Meanwhile, bombs killed five people, including two children and the son of a tribal leader. Near Fallujah, a bomb exploded next to a goal post as children were putting on sports clothes to play football. Two children died and eight others were injured, police officials said.

In Baghdad, vast numbers of pilgrims ended several days of commemorations for a Shiite saint in what was seen as a security test for Iraqi forces following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas at the end of last month.

The event was a relative success, despite bombings that killed several people and injured dozens.

Deaths last week

As of Saturday, 4,327 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

Army Spc. Daniel P. Drevnick, 22, Woodbury, Minn.; insurgent attack Thursday; Basra.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Rodney A. Jarvis, 34, Akron, Ohio; noncombat injuries Monday; Baghdad.

Army Spc. James D. Wertish, 20, Olivia, Minn.; insurgent attack Thursday; Basra.

Army Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox IV, 27, Cottage Grove, Minn.; insurgent attack Thursday; Basra.

Iraqis arrest Iranian-backed militia member in attack on U.S. base 07/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 18, 2009 9:35pm]

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