The Associated Press
BAGHDAD — Fourteen American soldiers were killed in three deadly days in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday, including four in a single roadside bombing and one who was struck by a suicide bomber while on a foot patrol southwest of the capital.
The blast that killed the four soldiers occurred Sunday as the troops were conducting a cordon and search operation northwest of the Iraqi capital, according to a statement. Two other soldiers from Multi-National Division — Baghdad were killed, and five were wounded along with an Iraqi interpreter in two separate roadside bombings on Sunday, the military said.
One soldier was killed Friday after the patrol approached two suspicious men for questioning near a mosque, and one of the suspects blew himself up, according to a statement. The military did not provide more details.
Seven other troops were killed in a series of attacks across Iraq on Saturday.
The deaths raised to at least 3,493 members of the U.S. military who have died since the war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Another soldier with Lorain County ties also has been killed in Iraq.
Army Sgt. Bruce Horner, 43, a graduate of Admiral King High School, was killed recently while serving with the 127th Military Police Company out of Germany. The exact date of his death is not yet known.
Horner is a son of Ed and Betty Horner of Cleveland, formerly of Lorain. His wife, Erin, is in Germany, where her husband was stationed before being deployed to Iraq.
Horner’s parents could not be reached Sunday night for more information.
Three other soldiers from Lorain County, all from Elyria, also have been killed in the war — Sgt. Norman Lane Tollett, 30, on April 28; Master Sgt. Robert H. West, 37, on May 14, 2006; and Sgt. Daniel Shepherd, 23, on Aug. 15, 2004.
The latest round of bloodshed came as private talks were reported between the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia and Iraqi government officials to win the release of five Britons kidnapped last Tuesday from Baghdad’s Finance Ministry, an abduction believed carried out by the Shiite militia.
Recent American and Iraqi military operations in east Baghdad are believed aimed at finding and freeing those hostages.
London’s Sunday Times, quoting an unidentified senior Iraqi government official, said al-Sadr’s representatives were demanding an end to assassination attempts against militia leaders, an end to British army patrols in the southern Shiite city of Basra, and the release of nine Mahdi officials from British and U.S. custody.
Al-Sadr’s office denies involvement in the kidnappings — of four security guards and a computer consultant. But the Times reported an al-Sadr official visited Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to tell him the men were “safe and sound” but would not be free until the demands were met. Al-Maliki’s office on Sunday denied a meeting took place.
Chronicle staff writer Bette Pearce contributed to this report.