May 19, 4:22 AM EDT
9 Detained in Missing U.S. Soldiers Case

BAGHDAD (AP) -- U.S. soldiers widened the search for three missing American soldiers, detaining nine people in a raid Saturday about 25 miles from where the service members were taken captive, the U.S. military said.

The raid occurred in Amiriyah, a longtime Sunni insurgent area along the Euphrates River west of Baghdad, the U.S. said in a statement.

The statement said the Amiriyah raid was part of a move to "follow tips and information leads in the disappearance of three U.S. soldiers."

Tribes in the Amiriyah area are related to those who live close to where the soldiers were seized May 12.

In addition, U.S. troops arrested two people in Baqouba "associated" with the al-Qaida command network, the U.S. said. Baqouba is 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, and it was unclear whether their arrests were directly related to the search for the missing soldiers.

The focus of the search is around the village of Quarghuli, 12 miles south of Baghdad, where the soldiers were captured following an attack on their observation post.

Four American soldiers and one Iraqi were killed in the attack.

An al-Qaida-linked group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the kidnappings.