- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

12:21 p.m.

BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers blew themselves up today in a crowd of Shi’ite pilgrims streaming toward the holy city of Karbala, killing 93 persons in one of several attacks targeting the faithful ahead of a weekend holiday.

The attack came a day after U.S. forces suffered their deadliest day in nearly a month — nine American soldiers were killed in explosions north of Baghdad yesterday, the military said today.

The coordinated attack today happened on a main street in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, said Capt. Muthana Khalid. He said 93 persons were killed and more than 164 wounded.

U.S. forces continued their push today into Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood, home to 2.5 million of the city’s poorest residents as well as fighters loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. About 600 American soldiers searched the neighborhood’s northwest quadrant, knocking on doors and searching homes.

Six American soldiers died when a bomb exploded yesterday near their vehicles during a combat operation in Salahuddin province, the military said. Three others were wounded in the blast. Another three soldiers died the same day in a roadside bomb attack in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

Both provinces are Sunni-dominated and have seen a rise in violence since additional U.S. forces surged into Baghdad as part of a security crackdown three weeks ago.

Yesterday was the deadliest day for Americans in Iraq since Feb. 7, when 11 troops were killed — seven when their helicopter was shot down north of Fallujah and four others in combat operations.

The highest daily U.S. death toll since the Iraq war began was Jan. 26, 2005, when 37 Americans died in attacks.

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