Foreign militant safe houses destroyed in Iraq strikes

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Seven Iraqis, including two civilians, were reported killed in drive-by shootings and bombings Saturday. But in the week since the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum there have been none of the major suicide attacks that militants had been staging. Twenty-three U.S. military personnel have been reported dead over the week, bringing the total of American dead since the war began in March 2003 to 1,996, according to an Associated Press count. No agency keeps a comprehensive count of Iraqi deaths from violence, but an AP count found more than 3,700 killed since April 28, when the first elected government took power. The latest U.S. deaths reported by the military included a Marine killed by an explosion near the western town of Haqlaniyah on Friday, the final day of an offensive that began Oct. 4. After the blast, Marines fought with insurgents, killing four and destroying a bunker with an unknown number of gunmen inside, the military said. Two more Marines were killed by a bomb during fighting near Amiriyah, 25 miles west of Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Army soldier died in central Baghdad on Thursday of a “non-hostile gunshot.” Iraqis will have to wait until at least Monday to learn the final outcome of the constitutional referendum. Election officials were still examining unusually high “yes” votes in four provinces, including Ninevah province, which is key to whether the charter is adopted or rejected. But the Electoral Commission said there were no signs of widespread fraud. “We did not find any significant violations that would have any effect on the final results of the referendum,” commission member Safwat Rashid said at a news conference in Baghdad. Sunni Arab leaders have made accusations of fraud in key regions. But Rashid said no major complaints had been lodged through the commission’s system for filing grievances and dismissed any other claims as “baseless.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. troops and warplanes killed 20 insurgents Saturday while destroying safe houses for foreign militants near the Syrian border, and four more American military deaths edged the war’s U.S. death toll closer to 2,000. Iraqi election officials, meanwhile, said no significant fraud had been detected in last weekend’s constitutional referendum as they released partial results. Officials indicated the final count would not come for at least a few more days. The day’s heaviest fighting came when U.S.-led forces raided five houses suspected of sheltering foreign fighters in Husaybah, a town near Iraq’s border with Syria, the military said. The troops reportedly killed 20 insurgents and captured one. The raiders found two caches of small arms, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds and bomb-making materials, the military said. Troops set off a car bomb found near one of the buildings, and the Air Force then used precision-guided munitions to destroy the houses. last_img

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