The military announced Tuesday that six U.S. Marines were killed in action near the city of Haditha in western Iraq Monday.

A seventh died when a suicide car-bomb exploded during combat operations near Hit, south of Haditha, the military said.

The deaths brought to 17 the number of military personnel who have died in the past week, many of them in the same region.

About 60 have been killed during the past month, according to wire service counts.

The announcement Tuesday gave few details of the latest deaths. The military said in its statement that the Marines were killed by small arms fire. Five died in the initial attack, but one Marine was initially missing. His body was found later a few kilometers away, according to the official account.

The Marines have been engaged in fighting with insurgents in the area for at least several days, searching out weapons caches and explosives. Earlier this week, they raided a schoolhouse rigged with explosives and .30 caliber machine guns.

Two U.S. Marines were killed by insurgent gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in the area late last week. The clash ended when Marine jets dropped high-tech bombs on insurgent positions.

Military officials also told the Associated Press that a reporter for the Army Times newspaper embedded with U.S. troops was injured in a suicide car bombing Monday evening in western Iraq near the Syrian border. The extent of the reporter's injuries was not immediately known, but Capt. Duane Limpert told AP that troops reported only minor injuries.

Fred Barbash reported from Washington.