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8 US soldiers killed, Fallujah accord likely
April 29, 2004 18:13 IST
Last Updated: April 29, 2004 18:16 IST
Eight American troops died in a car bombing Thursday and two others were killed in separate incidents in Iraq, reports CNN quoting US military officials.
The latest deaths coincide with reports that the US was considering handing over control of Fallujah, a stronghold of Sunni radicals opposed to the US occupation, to the new Iraqi Army. Washington is also said to be rushing heavy artillery, including 28 giant M1 Abrams tanks, to Iraq to cope with the increasing violence.
The car bombing in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, also wounded four troops, a military spokesman told CNN. This brings the official US toll in Iraq since the war began last year to 737. On May 1, 2003, when US President George W Bush declared the end of the war in Iraq, the US death toll was 109.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he hoped the Fallujah conflict would be over before the coalition transfers political power to Iraq on June 30. According to CNN, it was unclear "how the deal was brokered and whether it involved talks between Sunni sheikhs and coalition commanders and other officials. The sheikhs, from across Iraq, were to gather in Fallujah for cease-fire talks Thursday after a rise in clashes in recent days."
"The Marines have cordoned off the town, we're hoping that the tribal sheikhs who have come to help with this situation will be able to talk to the people inside the town and say let's end this, let's bring this to a conclusion," Powell said.