BAGHDAD -- Roadside bombs killed four American soldiers in Baghdad, raising to six the number of US troops who died in attacks in Iraq over the weekend, the coalition said yesterday.
On the Iraqi-Iranian border, American soldiers killed one uniformed man and injured another -- both possibly Iranian border guards -- in a shoot-out yesterday, the US Army said. US soldiers based in Iraq were questioning two suspected fertilizer smugglers in a buffer area between two checkpoints when they were attacked by three men in green-and-brown uniforms, said a US military official in Tikrit who did not give his name. The gunmen fired from the Iranian side of the border. The American troops returned fire, killing one assailant and wounding another, the official said. The third man fled.
Meanwhile yesterday, hundreds of Iraqis mourned a Shi'ite politician's relative who died in a blast in his shop Saturday.
A roadside bomb killed three soldiers from the First Armored Division and wounded another during a patrol Saturday night in southeastern Baghdad, a spokeswoman for the US-led coalition said.
That followed a similar attack in Tikrit, the hometown of deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, that killed two American soldiers and wounded three others.
US forces responded by making several arrests and dispatching troops into the streets in a show of force Saturday, the same day that the First Infantry Division's First Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, took control of the restive Sunni Triangle town in a troop rotation.
Soldiers who have been on the front line facing the anti-US insurgency -- believed to be led by Hussein loyalists and Islamic militants -- have been carrying out joint patrols with the newcomers. Saturday was only the second day that troops from the Germany-based 18th Regiment patrolled alone.
A sixth soldier died at a combat hospital from injuries suffered in a blast in the Iraqi capital yesterday morning, the spokeswoman said.
"We were woken up this morning by the blast. We saw an American military truck on fire," resident Saad Mohsen said. A second explosion set a nearby civilian truck on fire, he said.
In Washington yesterday, US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell defended the decision to go to war with Iraq, saying intelligence before the US-led invasion was not "cooked" even though inspectors have not found banned weapons.
"We may not find the stockpiles. They may not exist any longer, but let's not suggest that we knew this," Powell said on ABC's "This Week."
"We went to the United Nations, we went to the world, with the best information we had. Nothing that was cooked," he said.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the March 20 invasion that ousted Hussein, Powell and other Bush administration officials appeared on talk shows yesterday to defend the war and call attention to advances in rebuilding the country.
In Baghdad, about 1,000 mourners attended the funeral yesterday of Haidar al-Qazwini, the brother-in-law of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shi'ite member of the Iraqi Governing Council.
The latest deaths brought to 564 the number of US service members who have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq. Of those, 385 died as a result of hostile action, and 179 died of other causes.