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|Nine US servicemen killed in Iraq |
(about 9 hours later)
Nine US troops were killed in violence across Iraq over the weekend, the US military has said.
One soldier died in Baghdad, three just north of the capital and five in the western province of Anbar. About 150 Iraqis also died in the past two days.
|Almost 2,900 US troops have now died in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.||Almost 2,900 US troops have now died in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.|
The violence came as US President George W Bush prepared to meet influential Iraqi Shia leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim at the White House.
|The US military said one soldier died in Baghdad and two north of the capital on Sunday.||The US military said one soldier died in Baghdad and two north of the capital on Sunday.|
On Saturday one was killed north of Baghdad and five in Anbar.
|On Sunday, the military also declared killed in action the pilot of an F-16 fighter that crashed in Anbar last Monday.||On Sunday, the military also declared killed in action the pilot of an F-16 fighter that crashed in Anbar last Monday.|
President Bush is meeting Mr Hakim at a time of increasing pressure over the unrelenting violence in Iraq.
Mr Hakim leads the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in IraqMr Hakim leads the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), a powerful Shia party in the governing coalition.
The BBC's Sarah Morris in Washington says the meeting has attracted controversy since Mr Hakim has ties to Iran and is thought by many to have links to a militia group.
Our correspondent says the timing of the meeting has encouraged speculation that Washington may be seeking additional sources of help as it steps up its search for ways to stabilise Iraq.
A leaked internal White House memo written by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has questioned the authority of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
Mr Hakim may try to persuade Mr Bush to engage Iran in the search for a solution in Iraq, our correspondent adds.
The unremitting Sunni-Shia sectarian violence is also sure to be discussed.
The meeting also comes two days before the findings of the Iraq Study Group are due to be published. The report will set out suggestions for how best the violence can be quelled.