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FALLUJAH, Iraq — Two American soldiers and a U.S. Marine were killed Tuesday in Anbar province, and a U.S. soldier was killed in fighting near Baghdad on Wednesday as violence here continued amid the focus on Baghdad and the troop buildup there.

At least one of the servicemembers killed in Anbar was in a vehicle hit by a roadside bomb, officials said. No other information about the incident was released, and names are being withheld until the families are notified.

The Associated Press reported a U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday in fighting north of Baghdad.

The Task Force Lightning soldier died and another was wounded while conducting combat operations in the mainly Sunni Salahuddin province north of Baghdad, according to a military statement.

The deaths highlight the continuing dangers faced in and around the flash point cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. While the push in Baghdad is topic one in Iraq, some 4,000 servicemembers also are beefing up the American presence in Anbar, where the insurgency is fueled by Sunni extremists and former Saddam regime supporters.

U.S. military officials have said that cutting off insurgents in Anbar is critical to tamping down violence in Baghdad — many of the attacks in the capital are planned and staged in Anbar cities a short drive from Baghdad.

Reconstruction efforts and police training are also being emphasized in Anbar, where an absence of local security forces in past years has put an extra burden on Marines and soldiers fighting here.

Elsewhere, U.S. military officials announced on Wednesday the seizure of a weapons and equipment cache in an eastern Baghdad warehouse earlier in the week.

The warehouse contained some 200 pairs of military boots, 150 helmets, 150 flak vests, 75 armor plates, cases of Meals, Ready to Eat and a variety of uniforms, including U.S. military uniforms.

“There was enough gear in there to outfit a battalion,” Capt. James Ojeda, of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division’s Military Transition Team, was quoted as saying.

Some of the materials were being sold on the black market, military officials said, where an American soldier noticed the equipment.

The items in the market were seized, leading to the search of the warehouse by Iraqi troops of the 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. 2nd BCT, 2nd ID.

Insurgents and militia death squads have used uniforms and official-looking equipment in many of their attacks, both on Iraqi and American targets.

One of the worst such attacks took place last month, when five American soldiers were killed in an attack on a government compound in Karbala.

The attackers were dressed in American uniforms, drove American sport utility vehicles and managed to infiltrate the compound for the attack, officials have said.


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