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MOSUL, Iraq — Two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday after an insurgent bomb exploded underneath their Bradley fighting vehicle as they were clearing a route for hidden explosives, U.S. military officers said.

The soldiers were members of 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Bliss, Texas.

Two other soldiers were wounded in the blast and were transported to a coalition hospital at Forward Operating Base Marez for treatment, military authorities said.

The names of those killed and wounded were withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. U.S. military officers said the soldiers were on a routine route-clearance mission when the explosion occurred.

“It was a catastrophic blow,” said Maj. Mark Reeves, operations officer for the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

The deaths were the first for 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division — which controls security in Mosul and northern Iraq’s Ninevah province — in more than a month, said Col. Stephen Twitty, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division commander.

“Unfortunately, we lost two more of our great soldiers today,” Twitty said. “With every last one of them, you feel that you’ve lost a person in your family, because that’s what we are, a family.”

Despite the setback, Twitty said 4th Brigade would continue its mission in northern Iraq with its “resolve strengthened.”

Thirty-one soldiers from 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division have been killed in Iraq during its current deployment. The brigade is scheduled to rotate home to Fort Bliss in December.

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