Insurgents in Iraq killed four American soldiers and assassinated a Baghdad judge Thursday while beleaguered government officials and U.S. military leaders worked to shift attention from the violence to the ongoing efforts to rebuild the country.
The soldiers died when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the city of Samarra, about 60 miles northwest of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military.
The attack occurred on a dirt road in the southern section of the city, which has become a frequent focus of violence in the insurgency. Military officials did not provide further details Thursday.
American military deaths in the Iraq theater since the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion totaled 1,862 as of Thursday, and there had been 63 U.S. fatalities this month, already surpassing by nine July's total, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
Also on Thursday, Jasim Waheeb, an investigative judge from a Baghdad appellate court, and his driver were shot to death in the capital's Dora neighborhood less than two miles from the heavily protected Green Zone, which is home to the Iraqi government, reports La Times.
According to CNN, the Iraqi Transportation Ministry said police arrested four people in connection with the blasts.
In other violence, a roadside bomb exploded Wednesday in eastern Baghdad as a car carrying three members of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq drove past.
The blast killed one member of the powerful Shiite Muslim group and wounded the other two.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18