Insurgents killed four US Marines in a landmine strike in Anbar Province west of Baghdad, in one of the deadliest attacks against US troops in the Sunni former rebel bastion in months, the military said yesterday.
The Marines were in a vehicle which was hit by an improvised explosive device on Friday, the military said in a statement, without specifying the exact location of the attack.
The attack came 10 days after a similar ambush in the province in which two US Marines were killed and three wounded.
Friday’s attack brought to 1,290 the US military’s losses in Anbar since the March 2003 invasion, figures on independent Web site www.icasualties.org showed, slightly fewer than the 1,298 killed in Baghdad.
The losses in Anbar make up nearly a third of the 4,071 US troops killed in the conflict so far.
Most of the US dead in Anbar have been killed by roadside bombs.
The vast desert province that borders Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan was one of the strongholds of the anti-US insurgency in the first years after the overthrow of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Its provincial capital of Ramadi and the nearby city of Fallujah became symbols of Sunni Arab resistance to US forces in Iraq.
In one of the fiercest battles of the war so far, US forces virtually razed Fallujah to the ground in November 2004 in a devastating offensive to recapture the city from insurgents.
That month saw 137 US troops killed across Iraq — the highest monthly figure till now — most of them in the Fallujah battle.
Violence in the province fell dramatically last year as Sunni Arab tribes fell out with al-Qaeda and joined the US-led war against the jihadist network.