BASRA & HILLAH, Iraq - Nine Iraqi children were killed and seven wounded in the south of the country when unexploded ordnance they were playing with detonated, a UN spokesman said Wednesday.
"Nine children were killed and seven were injured in Missan governorate on Monday when they were playing with unexploded ordnance," David Wimhurst told a press conference in Basra.
"This tragedy highlights the terrible danger that unexploded ordnance represents all around Iraq," Wimhurst said.
Kathryn Irwin, a spokeswoman for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said the ordnance that exploded was an Iraqi rocket.
"There are thousands of stockpiles of weapons in Iraq," she said.
One US marine killed in bunker explosion in Iraq
One US marine in Iraq was killed after he became trapped in a munitions bunker that caught fire and exploded, US Central Command (Centcom) announced Wednesday.
The marine was loading ammunition from an Iraqi bunker near Hillah onto a vehicle when the incident occurred Tuesday, Centcom said in a statement.
The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation, it added.
Attacks in Baghdad and Fallujah
On the ground, US-led coalition forces continued to come under attack at various locations around Iraq, Centcom said.
Three Iraqi paramilitary soldiers were killed and two others captured by US troops when a Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) convoy was ambushed in Baghdad Tuesday. One FIF soldier was also killed.
Two US soldiers received minor injuries Wednesday when unknown assailants fired two rocket-propelled grenades at a building used by the 2nd Armoured Fourth Infantry Division in Fallujah.
US forces kept up efforts to weed out pockets of resistance loyal to former president Saddam Hussein.
A raid on a Fedayeen paramilitary safehouse in Baquba Tuesday netted five people and numerous small arms, while another group of individuals was captured in Tikrit with large amounts of explosives and detonators in their possession, Centcom said.
Elsewhere, joint police patrols continued throughout cities in Iraq, with US forces also completing training courses for Iraqi policemen and security guards, as well as distributing monthly stipends to some workers.