A group of armed men have carried out a bloody dawn attack to the west of Baghdad.
More than 20 policeman were taken hostage and later shot dead in Haditha, the gunmen then made off with their weapons and vehicles. In a town nearby at least one other police officer was killed. The al-Anbar province has been repeatedly attacked by US forces. It also contains the rebel held city of Falluja. US forces pounded it for another night, in what was described as the fiercest bombardment in months. There is no sign yet of an all out assault on the Sunni Muslim city, though it is reported as imminent. US forces want to crush insurgents suspected of hiding in the city before Iraq’s elections scheduled for January.