The United States is recalling to active duty several thousand Marines to bolster American military units in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A military spokesman says the reservists are men and women who returned to civilian life after previous active-duty service. They will fill critical shortages among military-police units, intelligence and communications specialists.

President Bush issued an order authorizing the involuntary callup.

The Marines Corps has 35,000 reserve troops with time remaining on eight-year commitments made when they enlisted. Mr. Bush's order limits the number of those who can be recalled to 2,500 at a time.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, U.S. military officials report a declining trend in violence this month in Baghdad. But insurgents carried out more attacks Wednesday, including a suicide bombing in Mosul that killed a woman and wounded eight policemen.