U.S. troops clash with insurgents in Ramadi

U.S. troops battled insurgents in fierce fighting that killed at least 12 people in the volatile Sunni city of Ramadi, U.S. officials said Thursday. Iraqi authorities said the dead included women and children.

The six-hour firefight began after the U.S. troops were attacked by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in eastern Ramadi, a Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Shawn Mercer said.

The fighting ended after "precision guided munitions" damaged a number of buildings being used by the insurgents, he said.

Twelve insurgents were killed and three were wounded, he said. No civilian casualties were reported.

Iraqi officials, however, said 26 people, including four women and children, were killed when three houses were damaged in the fighting.

An Associated Press photo showed the bodies of two small boys wrapped in one blanket, one with an ashen face and mud on his mouth, his hands crossed on his chest. Other photos showed four or five bodies covered by blankets while several men pulled at a pile of rubble and concrete bricks, apparently the wreckage of one of the destroyed houses.

A doctor at the Ramadi Hospital, Hafidh Ibrahim, said neighbors pulled 26 bodies from the rubble Thursday morning, reports AP.

Ramadi, the provincial capital of the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar, has seen some of the bloodiest street battles of the war.

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