|Smoke billows over the center of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, after a loud explosion was heard|
A U.S.-led offensive against insurgents and supporters of wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pressed ahead Saturday in a far western corner of Iraq.
U.S. military officials said troops have not yet entered the city of al-Qaim, which sits along the Euphrates River near the border with Syria. But they have taken up positions surrounding the city, which is a haven for foreign fighters and other militants.
The Marines report fierce clashes among rival groups within al-Qaim, saying tribal fighting in that area is not unusual.
Nine Marines and dozens of insurgents have been killed since Operation Matador began last Saturday night.
Elsewhere in Iraq, insurgents launched several attacks. At least eight people were killed in shooting, suicide and car bomb attacks in Baghdad and Mosul.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.