The commander of the allied forces, reacting to battles Sunday in which about 20 U.S. forces were killed or missing as a result of ambushes and a fake surrender, said the harassment by the “Fedayeen” militia wasn’t unexpected.
“We know that the Fedayeen has in fact put itself in a position to mill about, to create difficulties in rear areas, and I can assure you that contact with those forces is not unexpected,” he said.
The combat death toll among U.S. forces remained unclear on Monday. In addition to the Marines killed Sunday, two Marines were killed Friday in southern Iraq and at least five members of an Army supply unit ambushed Sunday near Nasiriyah were believed to have been killed while five others appeared on Iraqi TV.
There was no overall toll available for Iraqi combat casualties since fighting began last week.
Iraq’s al-Sahhaf said Monday that 62 Iraqis had been killed by U.S.-led forces in the previous 24 hours and more than 400 had been wounded. It was impossible to verify the numbers given by Al-Sahhaf, who said most of the losses were suffered in Babel, which is just south of Baghdad, and Basra.
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