The US military in Iraq says it has detained three Iran-backed Shi'ite militia fighters believed responsible for the kidnapping of five British security contractors earlier this year.
A US statement Sunday says the suspects -- linked to a splinter group of the Shi'ite Mahdi Army militia -- were captured Saturday in a pre-dawn raid in Baghdad's Sadr City district.
The five Britons were abducted from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in May by heavily-armed men in police uniforms.
In new violence, Iraqi police say three bomb blasts in separate parts of Baghdad today killed at least nine civilians and wounded a dozen others.
One of the bombs killed three bystanders as a US military patrol passed in a southern district. A second bomb killed three other civilians near an Iraqi police patrol in eastern Baghdad, while a third blast killed three in central Baghdad.
In other developments, an al-Qaida-linked group (the Islamic State of Iraq) has claimed responsibility for killing a prominent anti-al-Qaida Sunni sheikh north of Baghdad last week. Sheikh Muawiya Jebara and three of his bodyguards were killed by a roadside bomb Thursday in Salahuddin.