Sunni Arab leaders in Iraq have warned that large-scale U.S. and Iraqi military operations may discourage Sunnis from taking part in next month's parliamentary elections.
Leaders of key Sunni parties called Sunday for an end to such operations, saying they are intended to upset the political process in mostly Sunni areas.
U.S. and Iraqi troops have conducted the raids in northwestern Iraq in an effort to stop the flow of insurgents and supplies from Syria.
Meanwhile, coalition forces disputed claims that a top aide to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has died. A statement said Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is still being sought with a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture or grave site.
U.S. officials also reported the deaths of two Marines and one soldier in separate incidents outside of Baghdad.
And some 1100 lawyers have withdrawn from the defense team of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, following the slayings of two colleagues in the past month.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP.