Suspected Shiite militants lobbed rockets and mortar shells into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American troops and wounding 31, officials said.
The attacks occurred as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Shiite militants in Sadr City in some of the fiercest fighting since radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a cease-fire a week ago. At least 16 Iraqi civilians were killed and nearly 100 wounded in the fighting, according to hospital officials.
The deaths raised to at least 4,018 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The surge in violence came as tensions rose in Shiite areas despite al-Sadr's cease-fire order issued March 30 that eased nearly a week of clashes in Baghdad, Basra and other cities in the Shiite south. The cleric stopped short of asking his fighters to surrender their weapons, and sporadic clashes have continued.
Violence also continued in northern Iraq. Gunmen seized 42 students off a bus near the city of Mosul — the last major urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq — but later released them unharmed. The U.S. military said the college students were rescued by Iraqi soldiers, and three kidnappers had been detained.
Say it with me though, slow and methodically. The surge is working, the surge is working. You say it so many times in a row and maybe we will actually believe it.