(CBS/AP) The U.S. military reported Saturday the deaths of seven more American soldiers from roadside bombings near Baghdad. Sunni insurgents bombed another market in a predominantly Shiite district, killing at least 13 people in a bid to terrorize Baghdad before a U.S.-Iraqi crackdown.
The U.S. deaths raised to at least 12 the number of service members killed in the past three days. The most recent seven deaths were the result of roadside bombs, two in Diyala province, two in Baghdad and three others at an unspecified location north of the capital.
The deaths raised to at least 3,079 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,471 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military.
The latest market attack capped a week in which more than 150 people, mostly Shiites, were slain in bomb attacks.
Death squads, believed to be primarily Shiite militiamen, continued their butchery on the other side of Iraq's deepening sectarian divide, with police reporting the discovery of 40 bodies dumped in Baghdad alone. Two of the victims were women and most of the bodies showed signs of torture, police said.
In all, at least 61 victims of Iraq's sectarian warfare were killed or found dead across the country.
U.S. airstrikes killed 14 insurgents and destroyed a safe house for foreign fighters during a raid south of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Two suspects were captured, the military said.
The Americans said the raid had targeted a foreigner they believed responsible for a series of attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces in the extremely violent Baqouba region. The military there has been caught in the midst of some of the bloodiest sectarian fighting of the war.
Saturday's bombings employed what has become a classic insurgent tactic. First a suicide car bomber drove into the crowded market stalls in the busy New Baghdad commercial area shortly after noon, then detonated his explosives among the stores and kiosks selling food, clothes, household appliances and birds.
As people rushed to help the victims, a parked car bomb exploded. The 13 killed included two policemen; four officers were among the 42 wounded, police said.
Burned-out hulks of cars and vans littered the market. A bag of fruit lay in the twisted metal on the bloody pavement.
Farooq Haitham, the 33-year-old owner of a watch repair shop, said the area had been targeted by bombers before but shopkeepers had no choice but to keep opening their doors.
"What can we do? We want to live. We need the money so we come to work," Haitham said.
It was the latest in a series of attacks against commercial targets, in which more than 150 people have died since last Sunday. The attack signals a tough battle ahead as U.S. and Iraqi forces prepare for the security operation, a third bid to pacify the capital since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took power on May 25.
The week's deadliest attack killed 88 people Monday when a suicide car bomber crashed into a market in the central neighborhood of Bab al-Sharqi.
In central Baghdad, police said armed men in police commando uniforms and driving cars with license plates commonly used by the Interior Ministry raided a computer shop in a Christian section of the Sina'a neighborhood. They took away four employees and three customers.
"The group pointed their guns at the victims and the passers-by, then they forced the victims into the cars and they sped away," Younis Kadhim, 36, who owns a small restaurant nearby.
In Other Developments:
On Saturday, at least one rocket struck Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, and two people suffered minor injuries, U.S. Embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said, as a U.S. government public address system could be heard warning people to "duck and cover" and to stay away from windows. The blast sent a plume of smoke into the air and thundered across central Baghdad shortly before sunset, about the same time as Thursday's rocket attack on the Green Zone, the site of the U.S. and British embassies, the Iraqi government and thousands of American troops. Six people were wounded, none seriously, in that attack.
Two mortar shells also slammed into a residential district in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah, killing two people and wounding seven others.
A A parked car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded in Mosul, killing one civilian and wounding another.
The bodies of five men also were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, according to a morgue official. Bodies are found regularly floating in the river downstream — sometimes scores in a single day — most of them believed to have been abducted and killed by sectarian death squads.