Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday it's too early to know whether a recent decline in insurgent attacks on U.S. and Iraqi government forces will continue or be reversed.

"They're on the run," he said of the insurgents. "They clearly have a lot of pressure on them." But "it doesn't mean they can't go kill people, it doesn't mean they can't hire people to go out and blow themselves up."

Speaking at a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld said the number of insurgent attacks has declined to a level that prevailed before the October 2005 constitutional referendum, but he did not predict that it would remain at that lower level.

"It's not a surprise" that attacks have declined, he said, adding, "It may very well now" go back up again.