Page last updated at 09:00 GMT, Friday, 1 May 2009 10:00 UK

Three US servicemen die in Iraq

Iraq map

Three American servicemen have been killed in fighting in Iraq's Anbar province, US military officials said.

The new casualties bring the US death toll in Iraq up to 18 for the month of April, the highest so far this year.

No further details of the incident are expected until the relatives of the servicemen have been notified.

Anbar province, west of Baghdad, was once Iraq's most restive and a stronghold of Sunni militants said to be linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Two marines and one sailor died on Wednesday in what US military officials describe as "combat operations against enemy forces".

Late in 2006 Sunni insurgents in Anbar started to co-operate with the US military and helped to successfully fight al-Qaeda. Anbar province became considerably safer for Iraqis and US soldiers.

In January 16 US soldiers were killed, in February 17 died and in March 9 servicemen were killed.

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