The U.S. military said its weeklong offensive near the Syrian border has ended Saturday, saying it had successfully "neutralized" an "insurgent sanctuary" and killed more than 125 "militants." Nine U.S. Marines were killed and 40 injured during the campaign.
Four U.S. Marines died in fighting in western Iraq, the American military said Saturday. According to The AP, the four were killed Wednesday when their troop transporter was hit by a bomb near Karabilah, a village close to the Syrian border, the Marines said in a statement.
Earlier it was reported that huge numbers of American troops supported by helicopters gathered outside an Euphrates River village Saturday, pushing ahead with their region-wide operation to wipe out supporters of al Qaeda. Operation Matador was launched in several villages close to the Syrian border known as major routes for foreign fighters entering Iraq to battle occupation forces.
Locals said American soldiers blocked the main road linking Obeidi with safer areas to the east outside the field of operations.
Elsewhere, three Iraqi street cleaners on Saturday killed when a roadside bomb went off apparently prematurely in Dora, a southern Baghdad neighborhood, said Dr. Zaid Adil of Yarmouk Hospital.
A suicide bomber detonated his vehicle near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baqouba, north of the capital, wounding three policemen and a civilian, said police Col. Mudhafar Muhammed.
A car bomb also targeted a police patrol in central Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least five Iraqis and injuring 12, most civilians, police said.
Jassim Mohammed Ghani, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry's director-general, was killed at about Saturday evening in western Baghdad's al-Kharijiyah district, Capt. Talib Thamer said. Three bystanders were also wounded.