Insurgents in Iraq have killed nine American troops in the latest violence in the run up to Iraq's January 30th elections.

Seven U.S. soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Baghdad during a routine patrol Thursday. In al-Anbar province, west of the capital, two U.S. Marines were killed while conducting security operations.

The attacks came as Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi extended emergency laws for another month in a bid to quell violence ahead of the upcoming election.

Separately, the New York Times newspaper says the Pentagon is planning to send a retired U.S. general to Iraq to review the U.S. military's policy there.

The report quotes senior Defense Department officials as saying General Gary E. Luck will assess troop levels and how best to train Iraqi soldiers and police.