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Suspected Weapons Smugglers Killed in Southern Iraq

Three militants have been killed during a raid on a weapons-smuggling operation in southern Iraq.

The British military reported the deaths Tuesday. The militants were killed in an airstrike by a British helicopter in the town of al-Majar al-Kabir, near Iraq's border with Iran.

Monday, Iraq's foreign minister warned that a quick withdrawal of foreign troops from the country could lead to what he called a "security vacuum" resulting in civil war, regional wars and the collapse of Iraq's government.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iraqi officials have discussed the issue with members of the U.S. Congress. Zebari said he understands the mounting pressure in the United States for progress toward stability in Iraq.

Violence in Iraq has killed more than 250 people in recent days.

A single truck bomb Saturday in northern Iraq left 150 dead.

Attacks on Monday killed at least 22 people, including nine Iraqi troops who died in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad.

In response to the recent violence, Shi'ite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms in self-defense.

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