U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has wrapped up his visit to Iraq with a vow to continue the U.S. mission there - despite opposition to the war in the United States.
Cheney also defended the Bush administration's decision to extend military deployments in Iraq as "vital to the mission." He was speaking to U.S. troops in Tikrit, some 160 kilometers north of Baghdad. Shortly after, he traveled on to the United Arab Emirates.
In other news, the U.S. military said coalition forces in Iraq killed three insurgents and detained four others in a raid in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite Sadr City district early Thursday.
The military said ground troops came under fire at the start of the raid, and called in an air strike after a brief gun battle. It said three Iraqi civilians were wounded.
The military also said one terrorist was killed and two suspected insurgents detained in raids in Anbar province targeting a chemical bomb network and smuggling operations.
South of Baghdad, in Mahaweel, police found two bodies of two people who had suffered gunshot wounds and showed signs of torture.
During his Middle East tour, Cheney is also to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.