Three US soldiers and two Iraqis have been killed in Baghdad car bombings. The latest attacks follow a day of carnage in the country when suicide blasts killed at least 60 people.
More than 600 Iraqis have died following a sharp rise in insurgent violence since Iraq's new Shi'ite-led government was announced four weeks ago.
The soldiers, from the US 3rd Infantry Division, died when a car bomb exploded next to their patrol. A similar device detonated earlier beside an Iraqi police convoy killed at least two people and wounded eight.
Yesterday, a blast outside a Shi'ite mosque in the so-called "triangle of death" just south of Baghdad killed at least 21 people, many of them children. The suicide bomber was identified as a Sudanese national, tells ITV.
All told on Monday, attacks across Iraq killed at least 43 people, including Waiel al-Rubaie, a senior aide in Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's administration, and his driver, who were shot to death in the Mansour district of Baghdad. The American military said three American soldiers were also killed in the northern city of Mosul on Sunday.
Insurgents have long sought to play on the deeply ingrained fears and prejudices between &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/366/14824_.html ' target=_blank>Sunni Arabs, a minority that once ruled the country, and the Shiites and Kurds who now dominate the government.
In Baghdad on Monday, a Shiite and a &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/30/27258.html ' target=_blank>Kurd were expected to be appointed to the committee drafting the new constitution, The Associated Press reported. Members of the National Assembly chose a Shiite cleric, Hummam Hammoudi, to lead the committee. His deputy is expected to be Fouad Massoum, a Kurd.
Political leaders fear that the insurgents have intensified their campaign to drive a wedge between Sunnis and Shiites and that they are trying to ignite a civil war.
Last month, Shiite leaders accused Sunnis of a mass killing of Shiites in Madaen, south of Baghdad, and Sunni leaders have accused the largest Shiite militia force of complicity in the killing of Sunni clerics.
The accusations have alarmed even Iraqi religious leaders known for militancy. On Sunday, the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr vowed to work for a "peaceful" fix to sectarian strife, and a leading Sunni party that claims ties to the insurgency, the Iraqi Islamic Party, issued a statement on Monday condemning "terrorist works" in Madaen and other Shiite areas, reports the New York Times.