MOSUL, Dec 11: A US aircraft dropped a half-ton bomb on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Saturday after guerillas attacked an army patrol that was trying to capture an arms dump, a military spokesman said.

The powerful blast shook the west of the city. There was an "unknown number of enemy casualties" and eight soldiers were slightly wounded, Lt Col Paul Hastings said.

Guerillas had set off a car bomb and then opened fire with rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars on the unit that moved on the arms cache. Troops later destroyed the weapons.

Earlier in the day in the city, where the anti-US fighters have been particularly active in the past month, another car bomb exploded near a US military convoy, wounding at least two passersby.

Three high-ranking Iraqi police officials and seven Iraqi National Guardsmen were among those killed in other incidents across the country.

The Guardsmen were killed in the town of Hit, in western Iraq, when guerillas ambushed their minibus. Three others were wounded.

In southern Baghdad, guerillas assassinated a police brigadier and a colonel, a police source said. Near the northern town of Ash Sharqat a police colonel was one of two officials killed in an ambush. There others, including a colonel, were wounded.

A car bomb exploded in the centre of the ethnically divided northern oil capital of Kirkuk, badly damaging a US Humvee patrol vehicle and wounding two soldiers and an interpreter, the US military said. The wounded were in a stable condition.-Reuters

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