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Mideast edition, Monday, August 18, 2008

The number of roadside bombs and houses rigged with explosives found by coalition and Iraqi troops have increased since the beginning of the Iraqi offensive in Diyala province, officials say.

Discovered bombs increased from 36 to 103 from the first to the second week in August, according to a release issued Sunday by Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

Thirty-six of the 103 found the second week were bombs in buildings, the release said. Of those, 34 were found and destroyed, and two were detonated against Iraqi and coalition forces.

Troops discovered 10 houses rigged with explosives in just one village on Aug. 10. A schoolhouse was also booby-trapped.

To clear a bomb-laced route between Baghdad and Baqouba, troops have called in F-16s to drop bombs and used mine-clearing line charges, or MICLICs. When that happens, a rocket attached to a 100-meter-long strand of C4 explosives is launched. The the C4 strand ignites into a fireball, setting off any explosives.

Officials say insurgents have used the explosives to try to slow the troops’ advance into their safe havens.

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