Ten people were killed Wednesday in fighting between insurgents and U.S. forces in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, the latest casualties in a string of violence this week that has left about 200 dead across the country.
The dead in Ramadi included two women, according to Saad Amili, a senior official with the Iraqi Health Ministry who was quoted by the Associated Press. The U.S. military gave no further details.
On Tuesday, eight civilians were killed and 18 wounded in the city, which is in Iraq's Sunni Muslim triangle, where insurgents have persistently attacked U.S. troops with roadside bombs and mortars.
The clashes in Ramadi followed some of the deadliest days in Baghdad since the U.S.-led invasion 18 months ago. At least 47 people were killed and 114 wounded Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through a crowd of police recruits on a busy commercial street.
Another car bomb, in Suwayrah, about 20 miles southeast of Baghdad, went off Wednesday at a checkpoint controlled by the Iraqi National Guard. The explosion killed two people, including a guardsman, and injured 10, according to the Interior Ministry.
In addition to striking military targets, insurgents have attacked Iraqis and foreigners working with the U.S.-supported interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. On Wednesday, a Turkish man who had been taken hostage because he worked as a translator with U.S. forces was released after he and his captors said he had converted to Islam.
The Shura Council of the Mujaheddin, an insurgent group that asserted responsibility for kidnapping the man, Aytulla Gezmen, had threatened to behead anyone who worked with coalition forces in Iraq.
But in a video obtained by Associated Press Television News, the kidnappers said they had released Gezmen. In an earlier video, Gezmen said he had started reading the Koran and praying and had converted to Islam. "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's messenger," he said, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, north of Baghdad, security forces discovered the decapitated remains of three unidentified men.
Col. Mazin Abdul Rahman, an Interior Ministry official, said by telephone that the bodies were found near Dijail, a rural farming area between Samarra and Baghdad.
"There were no documents found with these bodies, which were without heads," he said. "What was seen is that they had tattoos. They are taken to the morgue for the medical test."
Special correspondent Bassam Sebti contributed to this report.