(CBS/AP) Six more American soldiers were killed in Iraq, officials said Tuesday, pushing the U.S. military death toll to at least 2,978 - five more than the number killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. At least 25 people died and 55 were wounded Tuesday in coordinated car bomb attacks in western Baghdad, a doctor at a hospital said. The attacks occurred in a mixed Sunni and Shiite neighborhood, near a bus terminal.
The tragic milestone was reached with the deaths of six soldiers Monday and Tuesday in bombings and other violence in the war-torn country.
Tuesday, a bomb killed three American soldiers and wounded one northwest of Baghdad, according to the military.
"The patrol was conducting a route clearance mission when a roadside bomb exploded near them," the military said.
Two of the soldiers killed Monday were in their vehicle when a roadside bomb went off southwest of Baghdad, the military said.
"The joint patrol was conducting security operations in order to stop terrorists from placing roadside bombs in the area," it said in a statement on the latest deaths. "As they conducted their mission, a roadside bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."
In a separate incident, another soldier was killed in an explosion while on a foot patrol in the same area, a second statement said. Three soldiers were wounded in the incidents, the military said.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Opponents of President Bush have criticized him for raising the attacks as a justification for the protracted fight in Iraq.
On Monday, the U.S. command announced the deaths of two other soldiers and a Marine. It said one soldier died and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. military vehicle in southern Baghdad on Monday. An American soldier and a Marine died Sunday from combat wounds suffered in Anbar province.
Prior to the deaths announced Tuesday, the AP count was 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EST. At least 2,377 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
The British military has reported 126 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 18; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, one death each.
In other developments:
In Baghdad, police found 40 bodies, apparent victims of sectarian violence.
Another suicide bomber killed two policemen at a checkpoint at a university entrance in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, a stronghold of the Sunni-dominated insurgency.
In Kirkuk, 180 miles north of the Iraqi capital, another roadside bomb killed three civilians including an 8-year-old girl and hurt six other people, police said.
The White House said Monday that U.S. troops in Iraq detained at least two Iranians and released two others who had diplomatic immunity. CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports the Iranians were captured in two raids last week and are suspected of planning attacks on U.S. and Iraqi security forces.
CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports (video) American soldiers at Camp Victory in Baghdad held onto as much of the holiday spirit as they could, away from home and family.
Monday, British soldiers backed by tanks raided a police station in the southern city of Basra, killing seven gunmen in an effort to stop renegade Iraqi officers from executing their prisoners, the British military said. After the British stormed the Basra police station, they removed the prisoners, who showed evidence of torture, then evacuated the building before blowing it up.
In another sign of lawlessness in Basra, gunmen on Monday robbed $740,000 from a bank about half a mile from the raided police station.