Nine al-Qaeda suspects arrested, eight civilians injured

US forces detained nine suspected members of the al-Qaeda in Iraq group in separate raids, an Iraqi was reported killed and eight civilians were reported injured in Iraq Friday.

The nine suspects were captured in raids in Baghdad and the northern cities of Bayji and Mosul, a US military statement said.

A suspected leader of a bombing cell within the al-Qaeda in Iraq group was among the detainees.

Six civilians were wounded when a bomb that targeted a police patrol exploded in the northern province of Nineveh, a source in Nineveh police said.

The source told Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that an explosive device was placed under a vegetable cart in east of Nineveh's capital, Mosul. He added that no policemen were injured.

In the southern city of Nasiriyah, a joint US-Iraqi air operation targeting the house of a suspected member of a "special group" trained in Iran was carried out, US military spokesman Abdel-Latif Rayan told VOI.

The joint forces shot dead a man in self-defence when he pointed a weapon at them. Two men were injured in the incident, the spokesman said.

The US military uses the term "special groups" to refer to members of Shiite armed groups believed to be trained and armed by Iran.

Military reinforcements arrived Friday morning in Diyala province from Baghdad to participate in an operation recently announced by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to track down gunmen, said a security source.

The source did not mention when the military operation was to take place.

Last month, al-Maliki announced that "the next stage will be in Diyala," referring to military operations that took place in several provinces over the last few months.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense announced the deaths of two soldiers who were previously listed as "missing-captured", raising the US fatalities in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003 to 4,118. Three soldiers have been killed so far in Iraq in July.

"The soldiers were part of a patrol that was ambushed south of Baghdad in May 2007," VOI quoted the Pentagon statement as saying, according to dpa.

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