President Bush is scheduled today to hold high-level meetings on Iraq as he prepares to announce a new strategy for reducing sectarian violence there.
The president plans to meet with new Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and his national security advisor Stephen Hadley.
This past week Gates spent three days in Iraq speaking with U.S. military and Iraqi leaders about strategies for reducing violence. He has not said whether he will recommend a temporary increase in U.S. troop levels.
Meanwhile in Iraq, Iraqi police report clashes in the mainly Shi'ite southern city of Samawa. They say the fighting between Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militia fighters loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr left at least five people dead and 17 others wounded.
President Bush is expected to announce his new Iraq strategy in January.
Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.