5 Marines Killed in Iraq

10-16-05 - The U.S. military says five American soldiers have been killed in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad. The troops died in a roadside bomb during yesterday's constitutional referendum.

It's not known whether the Americans were involved in clashes between gunmen and US troops in the center of Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold. Ramadi was one of the few hot spots during the voting. Sixmortar rounds hit the city's Hall of Sports that was being used as
a voting center. Fighting between American and rebel forces
subsequently erupted.

The dead soldiers were assigned to the Second Brigade Combat
Team of the Second Marine Division.

President Bush calls the vote on a new Iraqi constitution a victory for opponents of terrorism. The president says the vote is in "stark contrast to the attitude, the philosophy and strategy of al-Qaida" and their terrorist friends.

Bush congratulated Iraqis for successfully completing the balloting. He says all indications point to greater turnout than in the last election and less violence. The president says the best way forward is through the
democratic process and "we're making progress toward peace."

A top Iraqi elections commission official is giving no predictions, but he's hoping to have an idea about voting results tonight. Ballots are being counted today after yesterday's vote on Iraq's new constitution. Some US officials are predicting passage, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Initial vote counts show a majority are supporting the constitution in two of the four provinces that Sunni Arab opponents are relying on to defeat the charter. Some Sunni Arab leaders insist they have numbers that show the constitution's defeat. Others accuse the United States of
interfering in the results. One official said there could be civil
disobedience if there are acts of fraud.

Election officials estimate turnout yesterday at 61 percent.


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