BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. forces launched attacks Thursday in the western towns of Fallujah and Ramadi, killing up to 60 insurgents in strikes against allies of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), a military statement said.
The military said that the "foreign fighters" were killed near Fallujah (search), but hospital officials there said the city was calm and that they had not received any casualties.
The military launched what it called a "precision strike" against a house in Fallujah and followed it with a second strike in a nearby town. The second strike destroyed three buildings allegedly used by Zarqawi's network.
"Those foreign fighters who escaped the initial strike fled into the town of Qaryat ar Rufush," the military said. The second strike targeted three buildings in which 90 fighters had allegedly taken refuge.
Separately, the military launched an action in the nearby town of Ramadi dubbed "Operation Hurricane" (search), which targeted the little-known "Daham terrorist network," which allegedly is tied to Al-Zarqawi.
The operation began at 3 a.m. Thursday and involved both Marines and soldiers, the statement from the 1st Marine Division said. One Marine was injured in the operation, military said.
Anti-American sentiments run high in Fallujah and Ramadi, Sunni insurgent strongholds west of the capital. The insurgents are bent on driving coalition forces from the country.
Dr. Abdel Munim Aftan, head of the Ramadi General Hospital said that seven people died and five were wounded.