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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Six US marines die in Iraq blasts
Bombs have killed six US marines in western Iraq where operations have been under way to track down militants fighting the US-backed government.

A roadside device near al-Karmah in the Falluja area killed four on Thursday and a bomb near the city of Qaim killed a further two on the same day.

Those killed near Qaim had been taking part in Operation Iron Fist against the militants, the US military said.

Iron Fist resulted in 29 rebel deaths in recent days, it added.

Bound and shot

Twenty were killed when US bombs hit a three-storey abandoned hotel in the Karabila area where they had been sheltering.

In the same area, which is near the Syrian border, aerial bombing claimed a further seven lives and two more militants were killed by tank fire, the US military said in a report which could not be independently confirmed.

America's military death toll in Iraq since March 2003 is now nearly 2,000.

Few details were given of Thursday's attacks on the marines, which both happened in areas with strong support for Sunni Muslim insurgents.

In another development, the bodies of 22 men from Badra, a town south-east of Baghdad, were found bound with wire handcuffs and riddled with bullets.

Many are thought to have been Sunni Muslims.

In the southern city of Basra, British troops took 12 suspected Shia Muslim militants into custody.




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