The U.S. military said four "suspected insurgents" have been killed and 32 detained in operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq. The largest raid occurred in the disputed northern city of Kirkuk.
According to a statement, ground forces there killed four armed men after coming under fire while surrounding a building where a targeted al-Qaeda in Iraq courier was believed to be hiding. The AP reported 16 other suspects were detained in Wednesday's raid. It said three other people believed to be associated with the wanted man were detained in two earlier operations Wednesday in Kirkuk.
The military stated 13 other al-Qaeda-linked suspects have been detained in operations Wednesday and Thursday elsewhere in northern Iraq and west of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi government conveyed U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has called Iraq's prime minister and stressed his commitment to a responsible withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. A statement from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office stated Obama called Iraq's leader Wednesday.
It said Obama thanked the Iraqi government for its attempts in gaining parliament's approval of a security pact that sets out a three-year timeframe for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops. It added Obama has also given assurances he's committed to respecting Iraq's sovereignty and to a responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces.