CAMP FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. Marines killed around 30 Iraqi insurgents overnight in a firefight near the flashpoint town of Falluja, Colonel John Coleman said on Saturday.
Marines spotted a small group of armed men, one with a mortar, and shot at them near a small village on the banks of the Euphrates, he said at the U.S. base of Camp Falluja, just outside the town.
The insurgents were joined by about 30 others and the Marines called in air support, Coleman, the chief of staff of the Marine Expeditionary Force, told reporters.
He said all the insurgents were killed in the action, but gave no other details.
Local doctors say about 600 people were killed earlier this month in a Marine crackdown on Falluja following the killing and mutilation of four American contractors.
Marines have been ordered to suspend offensive operations for nearly two weeks to allow talks with Falluja civic leaders aimed at restoring peace to the town, but are allowed to shoot back if fired on.