At least six Iraqis have been killed in clashes in the cities of Samarra and Ramadi, as pre-election violence continues virtually unabated.

Hospital officials say clashes near a U.S. military base west of Baghdad in Ramadi Wednesday killed two people. And Iraqi police say gunmen attacked a police station in Samarra, north of the capital, killing at least four people.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Kuwait, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke to American troops at Camp Buehring preparing to go to Iraq. Soldiers told Mr. Rumsfeld they are concerned about the lack of adequate armor on some vehicles and about their long deployments.

Mr. Rumsfeld said production of armored metal has been stepped up, but he said "you go to war with the army you have."

The number of American combat deaths in Iraq reached 1,000 on Tuesday