BAGHDAD, April 18 (Xinhuanet by Nie Xiaoyang) -- US army in Iraq on Sunday confirmed an earlier newspaper report that five US marines were killed in clashes Saturday with insurgents in western Iraq, near the border with Syria.
This made Saturday a very tough day for American troops in Iraq, who lost at least 11 of its soldiers in one of its bloodiest days over one year since the coalition forces invaded Iraq last March.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the US military spokesperson said that "five marines serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in yesterday's fighting in the vicinity of Husaybah".
Husaybah is a town located in western Iraq which is only several kilometers from the Iraq-Syria border.
Earlier on Sunday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its website that five marines were killed and nine wounded Saturday in a fierce 14-hour battle with nearly 300 Iraqi militias near the border town of Husaybah.
Dozens of Iraqi insurgents were also killed and 20 captured in the firefight.
According to a press release from the 1st Marine Devision of the US army, helicopter-backed reinforcements also came under heavy rifle and RPG fire from as many as 150 guerrillas who fought through the night and into Sunday in the Husaybah region.
Also on Saturday, according to another US army statement, three US soldiers were killed when Iraqi militants ambushed their convoy near the southern Iraqi town of Diwaniya on Saturday night.
Diwaniya is about 180 km south of the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.
According to witnesses, skirmishes erupted after the US military convoy was attacked, in which at least seven Iraqis were killed.
Meanwhile, another soldier was also killed on Saturday in al Anbar province west of Baghdad "in hostile fires".
The US army said on Sunday that a US soldier injured on Saturday morning in a roadside bomb in Baghdad and later died of his wounds.
This was followed by another news that an eleventh soldier died in a tank rollover accident occurred also on Saturday.
Since April 1, some 104 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
About 700 US soldiers have died in combat and non combat actions in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, it was reported. Enditem