17 October 2005 -- U.S. military officials say an estimated 70 militants were killed yesterday in western Iraq.
U.S. helicopters and warplanes bombed two villages near the city of Al-Ramadi, which is considered a center of the Sunni Arab insurgency.
Military officials say all the dead are militants. But some witnesses said there were civilians among those killed.
The air strikes came after a bomb killed five U.S. soldiers on 15 October in a village near Al-Ramadi. A sixth U.S. serviceman was also killed the same day.
The violence came as Iraqis cast their votes on 15 October in a referendum on a draft consitution widely opposed by Sunnis.
More than 60 percent of Iraqis turned out for the referendum. Early vote counts appeared to indicate the document has passed.
(news agencies)For RFE/RL's full coverage of Iraq's constitutional referendum, see "Iraq Votes 2005"