By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:46 PM
BAGHDAD, June 26 -- Three U.S. Marines and two interpreters were among scores of people killed Thursday in two bombings in predominantly Sunni provinces in Iraq, the U.S. military said.
U.S. officials have confirmed the death of 13 Americans killed in Iraq this week. Nine of them were attacked while attending meetings with Iraqis. The Marines were killed after a bomb exploded inside a building where they were meeting with local leaders in Anbar province, in western Iraq.
The attack comes as U.S. officials prepare to hand over responsibility for security in the province to Iraqi officials.
"The attack bears the hallmarks of having been carried out by al-Qaeda in Iraq," the U.S. military said in a statement, referring to the Sunni insurgent group.
The bombing happened in Karmah, a town just outside of Fallujah. U.S. officials were meeting with sheiks, or local leaders, when a suicide bomber detonated a vest packed with explosives. One of the sheiks who survived the attack said at least 20 people were killed.
Meanwhile, in Mosul, in northern Iraq, a car bomb killed at least 18 people during an attack that may have targeted the governor of Nineveh province. The attack, which killed one police officer and injured at least 71 people, comes two days after a bombing in the city wounded about 90 people.
Iraqi and U.S. forces launched a military operation in Mosul in May in an effort to crack down on al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups.