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May 11, 2009

U.S. soldier blamed in Iraq shooting that killed 5 Americans

BAGHDAD — An American soldier serving in Iraq has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting five fellow soldiers at a U.S. base in Baghdad on Monday, the military said in a statement.

The shooting occurred at about 2 p.m. at Camp Liberty near Baghdad International Airport, the statement said.

The military said the shooting is under investigation but wouldn't answer any further questions about what happened.

At about the same time as the Camp Liberty shooting, another U.S. soldier died in a roadside bomb attack in the southern province of Basra, the military said in a separate statement.

The identities of all the soldiers killed are being withheld pending notification of their families, the military said. Officials also wouldn't release the name of the shooting suspect.

Several U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq have died at the hands of fellow Americans. The most recent before Monday was in September, when Sgt. Joseph Bozicevich of Minneapolis, Minn., allegedly shot and killed two soldiers in his unit at a U.S. base south of Baghdad. Bozicevich has yet to be tried.

The last time five or more soldiers died in a single incident in Iraq was April 10, when a suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives slammed into a gate outside an Iraqi national police station in the northern city of Mosul. Five Americans died in the attack.

Deaths among U.S. soldiers here are on the rise. Eighteen were killed in Iraq last month, the highest monthly toll since September.

Overall violence has been increasing here for the past two months or so. More than 200 Iraqis died in attacks in Baghdad in April, according to a McClatchy count. The last time McClatchy recorded a higher toll was more than a year ago.

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