Five American troops dead in Iraq
Nine Iraqis, including six policemen, were killed on Monday after a suicide car bomb exploded in southern Baghdad. 10 others were injured in the attack, which was believed to have targeted a police patrol.
Another four people were killed east of Baghdad by mortar bombs according to Reuters, while earlier in the day, a separate suicide car bomb left two Iraqi soldiers dead after it exploded in the town of Thibban, north of Baghdad. The bomb had apparently targeted Iraqi soldiers who were guarding an oil pipeline.
Also on Monday, US military sources reported the death of an American soldier following the third day of military operations near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Four other U.S. soldiers dued when a suicide car bomber attacked their checkpoint south of Baghdad.
House-to-house combat in the area has resulted in the deaths of 36 resistance fighters and the detention of some 200 suspects believed to be Al Qaeda members in recent days.
The operation, codenamed Operation Steel Curtain, began on Saturday in the town of Husaybah and aims to curb the entrance of fighters crossing the border from Syria into Iraq.
'This has been the first stop for foreign fighters, and this is strategic ground for them," a US military spokesman told AP.
On Sunday, US jet fighters struck at least 10 targets, and reported heavy fire from resistance fighters.
Many frightened residents in the area fled on foot to nearby towns, all the while waving white flags so as not to be targeted. US troops warned that any vehicles would be fired upon.
US authorities hope the operation will help restore security in the area so as to facilitate the participation of Sunni Arabs in the upcoming Dec. 15 national parliamentary elections.