The U.S. military says five American troops have been killed in Iraq in recent days, raising the death toll among U.S. forces to its highest monthly level in a year.
At least 96 U.S. troops have died this month, equaling the level from last October.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Iraqi leaders have not agreed to develop a comprehensive plan by the end of the year for progress in the country. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday that critics should - "just back off" on demands for deadlines in Iraq.
On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Iraqi leaders agreed to a timeline aimed at curbing violence in the country. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected Khalilzad's announcement and said his government has not agreed to anything.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.