The number of American troops killed in Iraq in October reached the highest monthly total in a year Thursday after four Marines and a sailor died of wounds suffered while fighting in the same Sunni insurgent stronghold.
The U.S. military said 96 U.S. troops have died so far in October, the most in one month since October 2005, when the same number was killed. The spike in deaths has been a major factor behind rising anti-war sentiment in the United States, fueling calls for President Bush to change tactics.
In other violence, 12 police officers were killed in fighting with suspected militia gunmen in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, officials said. Eighteen militants also were killed.