2 Marines killed in western Iraq

At least 1 soldier, 5 others died elsewhere

December 16, 2006|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Molly Hennessy-Fiske,Los Angeles Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Two U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq's beleaguered western Anbar province, the military announced yesterday. The two Marines, assigned to Regimental Combat Teams 5 and 7, were fatally wounded in combat Thursday, a military statement said.

More coalition troops have died in Anbar than in any other province, about 37 percent of all deaths since 2003, according to www.icasualties.org, which tracks casualties in the conflict.

The military also announced that a soldier assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division in northern Ninevah province was killed Tuesday by enemy fire. Two more soldiers were injured in the attack, the military said.

This week's deaths bring the total troops killed across Iraq since 2003 to 2,940, according to www .icasualties.org.

Elsewhere in Anbar, two suicide bombs exploded at noon in central Ramadi near an Iraqi government building that issues identification cards, according to traffic police officer Wisam Ahmed Ali. He did not know how many people were killed or injured in the attack. Wire reports said four people died. The U.S. military could not confirm details of the attack late yesterday.

U.S. forces have been struggling to gain control of Ramadi, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents.

Across Iraq yesterday, at least five people were slain in sectarian violence.

Also yesterday, gunmen in the southern city of Basra killed Shiite Muslim tribal leader Muhsin Kanan, a member of the city's provincial council, and his driver, another tribal leader said. Gunmen dressed as Iraqi police and driving a police car rammed Kanan's vehicle as another driver opened fire from a passing car, said Sheik Mansoor Kanaan.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded in the southern neighborhood of Qadisiya, killing a person and injuring two. In the southern city of Diwaniyah, gunmen killed a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency and a guard for an oil company, police said.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, 22 dumped bodies were found over a 24-hour period ending late yesterday, all victims of shootings, according to the Interior Ministry.

And in Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, supporters of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr sat in protest for the eighth day in a row in front of local government offices. Protesters demanded the release of Sheik Yahia Baghdadi, who leads al-Sadr's Kut office and was arrested 10 days ago by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, according to Hussein Amir, a member of parliament with the Sadr movement. Witnesses estimated at least 1,000 people attended.

Amir said al-Sadr instructed the group to stage a peaceful protest.

"We think the arrest is based on vacuous information. They are trying to incite sedition" by detaining the sheik, Amir said of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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