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Three U.S. troops reported killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Separate attacks north and west of Baghdad on Thursday killed three U.S. troops, military sources said.

A U.S. Marine was killed and two were wounded Thursday in an ambush west of Fallujah, U.S. military sources said.

Attackers used homemade bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, and guns and rifles, the sources said.

Fallujah, west of Baghdad, is part of the "Sunni Triangle," the restive region of anti-U.S. sentiment north and west of the Iraqi capital.

Earlier Thursday, a roadside bomb in Baqubah killed a U.S. soldier and wounded two others, military sources said.

The blast took place 30 miles (48 km) north of Baghdad.

Also, one U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded Wednesday in an attack north of Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Thursday.

The soldier's unit fired back, killing three of the attackers, Kimmitt said.

The attack took place in Taji, which is about 19 miles (30 km) north of Baghdad.

Since the Iraq war began in March 2003, 590 U.S. forces have been killed -- 400 from hostile fire.

Of those, 451 have been killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1 -- 285 from hostile fire, 166 non-hostile deaths.

Kimmitt said Thursday U.S. forces are fired upon an average of 22 times a day.

Iraqi delegation visits Japan, China

A delegation from Iraq's interim government is on a trip to Japan and China and is expected to attend to the Arab League summit at the end of the month.

Representing the Iraqi Governing Council are Muhammad Bahrululum, the council's current president, Ahmed Shyaa al-Barrak, Naseer Kamil Chaderchi, and Rosi Sawes, a representative for Masud Barzani.

Also in the group are the ministers of Labor and Social Affairs, Agriculture, Industry and Water resources, as well as a representative from the Foreign Affairs ministry.

The council was invited by the Japanese and Chinese governments.

Timeline to sovereignty

L. Paul Bremer, head of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, on Thursday said he signed orders creating an interim Defense Ministry, a national security adviser and an antiterror force.

On Wednesday, Bremer detailed dates in Iraq's move toward self-rule:

  • By January 31, 2005, elect a 275-member National Assembly and councils.
  • By October 15, 2005, hold a general referendum on a constitution written by the National Assembly.
  • By December 15, 2005, elect a government under the terms of the new constitution.

CNN's Vivian Paulsen contributed to this report.

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