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U.S. Forces Clamp Down On Restive Iraqi Province

U.S. Marines deploy today for Operation River Blitz 20 February 2005 -- The U.S. military has stepped up security measures in and around the restive Iraqi province of Anbar, west of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said in a statement today that the new measures, dubbed Operation River Blitz and involving U.S. Marines and Iraqi security forces, were being carried out at the request of the interim Iraqi government.

Anbar has been an insurgent center. It includes the cities of Al-Fallujah, Ramadi, and Qaim on the western border with Syria.

Meanwhile, the bodies of three Iraqi soldiers were discovered today on a country road outside Al-Fallujah. A U.S. Marine has also been killed in action in Anbar Province in the past day.

News of the latest fatalities comes a day after a series of attacks in Iraq killed at least 55 people. Those attacks came as thousands of pilgrims converged on the city of Karbala to mark the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura.


[For more on events in Iraq, see RFE/RL's dedicated Iraq Votes 2005 and The New Iraq webpages.]