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Bloody November In Iraq

Increasing insurgent attacks and the U.S. military's offensive to retake the rebel stronghold of Fallujah have made November one of Iraq's bloodiest months.

With the month a little more than half over, the U.S. death toll is nearing 100. That makes November the second-deadliest month in Iraq since the war began. The worst month was last April, with 135 deaths, a period that included the first battle of Fallujah.

According to an Associated Press tally, the American death toll in the war has surpassed 1,200 with new Defense Department identifications Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The total of 1,208 deaths included 1,204 identified members of the U.S. military, three military civilians and one unidentified soldier reported to have died Tuesday in Balad.

Nearly 9,000 GIs have been wounded since the beginning of the war, more than half of them seriously.

Here are the latest developments in the war:

  • In Fallujah, heavy machine-gun fire and explosions rang out in south-central parts of the city as U.S. Marines hunted remaining fighters. In the northern Jolan neighborhood, U.S. Marines fought insurgents who officers said had sneaked back into the city by swimming across the Euphrates River.
  • A car bombing in Beiji, a city 155 miles north of Baghdad, killed 10 people. The vehicle hit a U.S. convoy and exploded The 1st Infantry Division said three U.S. soldiers were wounded in the suicide attack. Beiji is the site of Iraq's largest oil refinery and a major power station.
  • The U.S. military said it was expanding its investigation into the fatal shooting of a wounded man by a Marine in a Fallujah mosque over the weekend. The investigation will also look into whether other wounded men in the mosque were also shot and killed, a spokesman said.
  • U.S. forces and insurgents also battled for three hours in the center of the insurgent-heavy city of Ramadi, west of Fallujah. Hospital officials said seven people were killed and 13 people wounded in the clashes, which left two residential buildings in flames.
  • A police spokesman in Karbala said a police officer from the city had reported that 31 policemen returning from training in Jordan were kidnapped over the weekend by insurgents who attacked their hotel in western Iraq. The spokesman said the report was not confirmed.
  • Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces, backed by U.S. Marines, freed a captive Iraqi truck driver during a raid south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The rescued hostage, who was not identified, was taken to a nearby U.S. base, where he was treated and released.
  • In Baghdad, some 3,000 protesters peacefully demanded the release of seven followers of Shiite Ayatollah Mahmoud al-Hassani, who had been detained by U.S. forces in the past week.
  • The northern city of Mosul, where insurgents launched an uprising last week, appeared calmer, the military said Wednesday, after a U.S. assault to restore control. On a handful of small arms attacks continued, the military said.
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