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Bomber kills 2 Marines in Iraq

Three Marines hurt, civilian killed as truck explodes at checkpoint near Ramadi.

BAGHDAD — A bomb-rigged truck exploded at a checkpoint Tuesday near the city of Ramadi, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding three others in an apparent strike by al-Qaida in Iraq in one of its former strongholds.

At least one civilian also died and two dozen were injured in the blast, the latest in a string of recent strikes in areas where local Sunnis have joined U.S. forces to battle al-Qaida.

Iraqi police said the suicide attacker drove a small water tanker packed with explosives to the checkpoint and detonated them when he reached the guards.

In Diyala province, north of Baghdad, a woman detonated an explosive vest at the entrance to an Iraqi police station, killing eight policemen and a Kurdish security guard, police said. Ten other people were wounded.

In Sadr City, two Shiite extremists were killed, the U.S. military said. At least eight civilians also were killed and 15 wounded in the district in a rocket strike, Iraqi police said. The U.S. military said an American helicopter fired a missile at extremists transporting rockets at the same hour but insisted no civilians were in the area.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. command said an American Marine was killed and another wounded the day before when a roadside bomb struck a U.S. convoy in the southern city of Basra.

Also in Basra, a senior aide to Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani died Tuesday, a week after being seriously wounded in an assassination attempt. Two other al-Sistani representatives were injured in separate ambushes.

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