US and Iraqi troops searched house-to-house and combed fields with their bare hands after American troops and their Iraqi interpreter came under attack in the notorious "triangle of death" south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing.
The military said the patrol was struck Saturday in a pre-dawn explosion near Mahmoudiya, about 32 kilometers south of Baghdad - an al-Qaida area where two US soldiers were found massacred after disappearing at a checkpoint nearly a year ago.
A nearby unit heard the blast and the search was launched after communication could not be established with the patrol, the military said. Shortly after the blast, a drone observed two burning vehicles.
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