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US Military: 12 Insurgents Killed in Operations in Western Iraq


The U.S. military in Iraq says U.S. forces killed at least 12 insurgents during a six-hour battle in the city of Ramadi.

Marine spokesman First Lieutenant Shawn Mercer says the battle started late Wednesday when gunmen attacked U.S. forces in eastern Ramadi. The city, in Anbar province, about 100 kilometers west of Baghdad, is a Sunni insurgent stronghold. Mercer said there were no civilian casualties.

But Iraqi officials report that at least 26 people were killed, including women and children.

Elsewhere in Iraq, coalition forces killed three terrorists and detained 11 others during operations north of Baghdad.

A military statement said that the operations near Taji and Samarra targeted al-Qaida terrorists and foreign fighters in Iraq.

In Baghdad, security officials say a truck bomb detonated in a southern district of the city Wednesday released toxic fumes believed to be chlorine gas. It was the second truck bomb this week that used chlorine gas, which burns the skin and can be fatal.

Speaking on U.S. television (CNN) Thursday, the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Major General William Caldwell, said insurgents are using ordinary chemicals and mixing them with explosives.

Meanwhile, Iraq's government has welcomed Britain's decision to pull out some of its troops from southern Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the decision is "in line with the government's intention to take security responsibility" in southern Basra province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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