A bomb hidden in a truck loaded with dates exploded today in the center of a Shiite (search) farming village northeast of Baghdad (search). The blast killed 26 people and injured at least 34.

Three American soldiers died in separate bombings in Baghdad and northern Iraq. Their deaths raised to at least eight the number of U-S service members killed in Iraq since Thursday. At least two-thousand-15 U-S troops have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to a count by The Associated Press (search).

In the west of the country, U.S. Marines say they killed ten extremists in villages near the Syrian border, where Air Force jets blasted a suspected militant safe house the day before.

The surge in violence occurred as Iraqi political blocs unveiled their lists of candidates for December parliamentary elections.