BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Bombings struck four coalition and Iraqi military convoys and a provincial government office yesterday, killing at least eight people, including an American soldier and an Estonian trooper in the Baghdad area.
Taking place a day after the bodies of nearly 50 Iraqi military recruits were found massacred, the bombings occurred as a UN agency confirmed that several hundred tons of explosives were missing from a former Iraqi military depot in an insurgent hotspot south of Baghdad.
Yesterday, a roadside bomb in western Baghdad killed one US soldier and wounded five, the US military said.
An Estonian soldier died when a roadside bomb exploded at a market just outside Baghdad as his patrol went by, the Estonian military said.
Five other Estonian soldiers were wounded.
A car bomb also targeted an Australian military convoy 350 yards from their country's embassy in Baghdad, killing three Iraqi civilians and wounding nine people, including three Australian soldiers who suffered minor injuries, Iraqi and coalition officials said.
Two Islamic groups posted website claims of responsibility for the attack on the Australians. One was posted in the name of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group, renamed Al Qaeda in Iraq. The other claim was made on behalf of the Islamic Army of Iraq. It was impossible to determine if either claim was genuine.
Meawhile, The New York Times reported today that a new legal opinion by the Bush administration has concluded for the first time that some non-Iraqi prisoners captured by American forces in Iraq are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
The opinion, reached in recent months, establishes an important exception to public assertions by the Bush administration since March 2003 that the Geneva Conventions applied comprehensively to prisoners taken in the conflict in Iraq, the officials said, according to the Times.
The officials said the opinion would essentially allow the military and the CIA to treat at least a small number of non-Iraqi prisoners captured in Iraq in the same way as members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban captured in Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere, for whom the United States has maintained that the Geneva Conventions do not apply, the Times reported.
The officials outlined the opinion yesterday in response to a report in The