Iraqi officials say six members of a demining team died when a controlled detonation of old land mines went wrong.
A police official said Monday the accident happened near the city of Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, on Saturday.
The official says land mines and other munitions left over from the Iraq-Iran war and the 1991 Gulf War had been piled together for a controlled detonation but failed to explode.
As the troops went to investigate, the explosion happened, killing three Iraqi soldiers and three explosives experts.
A medical official at a nearby hospital confirmed the toll. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to release information.
Twenty-five percent of the world's unexploded land mines are buried in Iraq.