Another 6 marines were killed in Anbar yesterday said the Marines. 4 more died when a homemade bomb exploded, and a blast in Quaim killed 2 on Thursday. The total number of soldiers dead is 1,953 so far.

Marines say they have just finished wrapping up "Operation Iron Fist" and have have established some new outposts. In the 6 day mission over 50 members of al Qaeda were slain. Big. Gen Carter Ham says attacks on troops had risen.

"Since about April, May, that had been going down, just every month, until last month," said Ham. "And then in September of '05, it started to come back up again." Ham says there are currently around 152,000 US troops in Iraq.