updated 12/28/2008 2:50:34 PM ET 2008-12-28T19:50:34

A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier in Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City on Sunday while an Iraqi died when a bicycle-riding suicide bomber blew himself up amid a mass rally against Israel's airstrikes on Gaza.

The two attacks were demonstrations of the violence that still flares up in Iraq as the government prepares to take responsibility for security from the U.S. military in a few days.

A spokesman for the U.S. military, Army Capt. Charles Calio, said the soldier was killed by a roadside bomb that targeted an American convoy. He said there were no other casualties and the name of the soldier was being withheld pending notification of family.

In the northern city of Mosul, 16 people in the crowd of about 1,300 protesters were wounded in the attack, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with news media.

Problems persist in Mosul
U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to battle al-Qaida and other insurgents in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, where economic and political problems persist. The issues are complicated by Kurdish-Arab tensions in the city.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack on the Mosul demonstration, the local police officer said. The rally was one of several throughout Iraq Sunday to protest the Israeli attacks and demand a strong response from Arab governments.

The demonstration was organized by the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party. The party's Mosul spokesman, Yahiya Abid Mahjoub, complained that police and the Iraqi army had not taken security precautions for the demonstration.

Also Sunday, police in Fallujah said a bomb exploded on the outskirts of the city, killing two civilians and wounding four others.

A police officer said the bomb exploded in a parking lot where farmers and other merchants gather to buy and sell goods. Calio, the U.S. military spokesman, confirmed the casualty toll but added that the bomb targeted a police patrol.

Delivery trucks and other vehicles that do not have access permits for Fallujah are not allowed to drive into the city, which is west of Baghdad.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity.

Iraq condemns airstrikes on Gaza
Iraq's government condemned Israel's airstrikes on Gaza, which began Saturday.

Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said condemnation didn't go far enough.

"Expressing condemnation and denunciation for what is going on against our brothers in Gaza and expressing solidarity with them by words only doesn't mean anything in the face of the big tragedy they are facing," he said in a statement released by office in Najaf.

"Now more than at any other time, both Arab and Islamic nations are required to take a practical stance for the sake of stopping this repeated aggression and to break the unfair besieging of these brave people," the statement said, without giving details of the proposed stance.

About 100 people took to the streets in Baghdad's largest Palestinian neighborhood, a complex of 16 apartment blocks surrounded by Shiite areas, carrying signs denouncing Israel.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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