A car bomber rammed into a US convoy yesterday north of Baghdad during clashes with militants that killed 10 people, witnesses said. US aircraft launched airstrikes against insurgents holding out in the southern parts of Fallujah.
Violence continued to erupt across Iraq's Sunni-dominated heartland -- part of a spike in clashes which have made this month one of the bloodiest of the Iraqi insurgency.
The car bomb and clashes in Beiji, a city 250km north of the capital, also left 20 others wounded, witnesses said. It was unclear whether there were any US casualties or how many of the 10 deaths were a result of the car bomb or fighting.
Beiji is the site of Iraq's largest oil refinery and a power station.
In Fallujah, heavy machine-gun fire and explosions rang out in south-central parts of Fallujah as US Marines hunted fighters still in the turbulent city. In the northern Jolan neighborhood, US Marines fought insurgents who officers said had sneaked back into the city by swimming across the Euphrates River.
Bullets snapped overhead as Iraqi body-collection workers supervised by the Marines sought cover behind walls and in buildings. After 15 minutes of fighting, three rebels were dead and one Marine lightly injured in the hand, officers said.
The rush of warplanes streaking through the low-lying clouds shook the city and blasts sent smoke into the sky. The US military said that airstrikes were concentrated in southwestern Fallujah, destroying enemy positions.
Four trucks of humanitarian aid for Fallujah people crossed the borders from Kuwait into Iraq on Wednesday, said Dr. Haithan Issa, chairman of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in Basra. The assistance, a gift from the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society, included food, medicine and bedcovers.
Fallujah residents who fled into neighboring Ramadi reported that local insurgent leaders Abdullah al-Janabi and Omar Hadid remained fighting inside the city.
In Ramadi, masked men clutching rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles took up positions on several streets and alleys in the east and southeast, residents said.
A roadside bomb also detonated yesterday near an Iraqi National Guard convoy in Iskandariyah, killing two guardsmen and wounding three others, police said.