The attacks in Ramadi occurred as local tribal leaders and U.S. military officials were to hold their second meeting in a week at the governor's office in the city center. The insurgents apparently tried to shell the building, but reporters inside said there was no damage or injuries.
U.S. commanders call Ramadi the last untamed town in Iraq, and possibly the hiding place of al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, reports
Police Lt. Mohammed Al-Obaidi said at least four mortar rounds fell near the U.S. base on the eastern edge of the city, but that there were no reports of casualties.
A U.S. Marine spokesman in Ramadi said reports of insurgents taking control of Ramadi are completely unsubstantiated and only a few small arms engagements occurred Thursday, reports CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick.
But an AP Television News video showed the insurgents walking down a shuttered market street and a residential neighborhood, as well as firing four mortar rounds. The masked men, however, looked relaxed and did not engage in any battles, and no U.S. bases or government buildings were shown.
In other developments:
The U.S. has just kicked off another offensive near Ramadi in an effort to clear the area of insurgents, reports McCormick.
Ramadi is the provincial capital of Anbar province, a Sunni stronghold, where clashes between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi troops have left hundreds of people dead in the past two years.
About 500 Iraqi troops have joined 2,000 U.S. Marines, soldiers and sailors in a move to clear insurgents from an area on the eastern side of the Euphrates river near Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. command said in a statement.