An al-Qaida-linked group claimed Tuesday that it used "new methods" in staging a double suicide bombing with dump trucks that blasted a...

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BAGHDAD — An al-Qaida-linked group claimed Tuesday that it used “new methods” in staging a double suicide bombing with dump trucks that blasted a paratrooper outpost in Diyala province, killing nine U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and wounding 20.

The attack came in a region that has seen violence escalate since U.S. and Iraqi troops launched the security crackdown in Baghdad.

Other Iraq developments

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At least 38 civilians were killed throughout Iraq on Tuesday, including a family of seven shot to death in beds by masked gunmen just south of Baghdad, neighbors and police said.

British forces transferred a military base to Iraqi troops in Basra in the country’s south, ahead of the planned withdrawal this summer of about half of Britain’s contribution to the U.S.-led coalition. Britain’s nearly 7,500 soldiers in the city will now operate from a base at Basra’s main airport.

Vice President Dick Cheney accused Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., of personally pursuing a defeatist strategy in Iraq to win votes at home, a charge Reid dismissed as President Bush’s “attack dog” lashing out.

Kuwait is balking at forgiving Iraq’s $15 billion debt, aides to the Iraqi prime minister said as he visited the tiny oil-rich state.

The Associated Press

The first truck hit outlying concrete barriers surrounding the outpost at Sadah and exploded after soldiers opened fire. A second truck rammed into the wrecked vehicle, dragging it and other rubble before it exploded 30 yards from the building housing the post’s troops, said Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, U.S. military spokesman in north Iraq.

All the casualties were in the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The deaths made April the deadliest month of the year for the U.S. military. It also was the single deadliest attack on U.S. ground forces since Dec. 1, 2005, when 10 Marines were killed by a bomb near Fallujah.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of Sunni extremists that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, said it was behind the suicide attack. Its account on the Internet was similar to that of the U.S. military but claimed it used new techniques.

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, said the style of the attack fit the pattern of al-Qaida and added that an investigation was under way. When asked about the “new methods” claimed by the group, he said the military was on heightened alert for dump trucks because they had been used in several recent attacks.

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