One thousand U.S. and Iraqi troops searched for insurgents in the western city of Haditha Wednesday following an upsurge in violence that killed 600 people across Iraq this month.
U.S. officials say 10 suspected insurgents were killed and two U.S. Marines wounded in Operation New Market. It says one of the dead was an imam who was firing an assault rifle at U.S. and Iraqi troops.
The operation is the second major offensive in al-Anbar province this month. It is aimed at finding fighters thought to be loyal to the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The U.S. military also confirmed Wednesday the arrest of one of his top aids. On Tuesday, an Islamist website said Zarqawi had been wounded. That statement has not been verified.
In other developments, a car bomb killed two people in Baghdad Wednesday.
Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.