Iraqi insurgents have killed two American soldiers and wounded four others in two separate attacks on Wednesday in the northern city of Mosul.
A spokesman, Major Trey Cate for the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division says one soldier was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting at a gasoline station the troops were guarding.
A few hours later, another soldier died and three were hurt when insurgents detonated a bomb and shot at a U.S. military convoy on a busy road in Mosul.
In another incident, U.S. officials say a military airplane was forced to return to the Baghdad airport when an engine exploded shortly after takeoff Tuesday. A military official says the plane appears to have been hit by a missile, but was able to land safely. A U.S. military helicopter also made a forced landing and burned Wednesday, but officials say that incident was probably caused by a technical fault.
Meanwhile, the U.S. - appointed Iraqi Governing Council has announced it is setting up a special court to prosecute members of the ousted Saddam Hussein regime for crimes against humanity.
Council members say the tribunal will be staffed with Iraqi prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys. The court will have broad powers to make arrests and prosecute anyone accused of involvement in mass killings, torture and forced expulsions during the 35 years of Baath party rule in Iraq.
International human rights groups have warned that an Iraqi tribunal runs the risk of being seen as a forum for politically motivated revenge. Rights groups have also expressed concerns about the competence and impartiality of Iraq's judicial system.
However, Iraqi Council officials say international legal experts will be invited to serve as advisers to the court and will be given a monitoring role to ensure compliance with international standards.