- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2005

BAGHDAD — Five U.S. soldiers were killed in roadside bombings, the military reported yesterday, and another was killed in a shooting over the weekend.

A Shi’ite cleric whose arrest last year triggered a bloody uprising led by radical Shi’ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr was released after more than a year in jail on murder charges, two al-Sadr aides said.

At least six Iraqis were killed in scattered attacks across the country, and nearly three dozen bodies were found in Baghdad and Mosul, most of them in a mass grave in the capital.

An American soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a roadside bombing yesterday while they were on patrol east of Rutbah, 250 miles west of Baghdad, the military said.

Three soldiers assigned to Task Force Liberty were killed and one was wounded in a roadside bombing late Saturday near Tuz Khurmatu, 100 miles north of Baghdad, the military said.

Another soldier also was killed and one wounded in a bombing in western Baghdad on Saturday, the military said.

Elsewhere, a U.S. soldier was found fatally shot Friday. The military said an investigation was under way and did not say where the soldier was found or whether an attack was suspected in the soldier’s death.

In Baghdad, Sheik Mustafa al-Yacoubi and another cleric, Riyad al-Nouri, were freed yesterday morning and traveled to the holy city of Najaf, said Amer al-Husseini, who is in charge of Sheik al-Sadr’s office in Baghdad.

He didn’t give a reason for the release. Officials at the ministries of justice and interior said they had no information on the report.

Sheik al-Yacoubi, Sheik al-Sadr’s top lieutenant, and Mr. al-Nouri were both detained in April 2004 in the killing of a rival cleric, Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Khoei, in Najaf shortly after American forces seized the city in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Sheik al-Yacoubi’s arrest and the closing by U.S. authorities of Sheik al-Sadr’s newspaper triggered two major uprisings that engulfed Shi’ite areas of central and southern Iraq. Several thousand people were killed before the rebellion was suppressed in August of last year.

Also yesterday, 30 bodies were found in a grave in an industrial district in southern Baghdad after detained insurgents confessed to dumping victims in the area, Col. Selam al-Maamuri of the Interior Ministry said. Col. al-Maamuri estimated the grave was 10 to 14 days old.

The beheaded body of a woman also was found in the capital’s violent southern neighborhood of Dora, police 1st Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said. Two other bodies, including one that was beheaded, were found in Mosul.

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