The U.S. military says 10 American servicemen were killed in Iraq Tuesday - a surge in casualties as U.S. troops battle a stubborn insurgency and sectarian violence.
Military statements issued Wednesday say five soldiers were killed in roadside bomb blasts north and west of Baghdad, while gunfire in the capital killed one soldier and wounded another.
Three other American soldiers and a Marine died "due to enemy action" in the provinces of Al Anbar and Diyala.
Sixty-eight U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq this month.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has released a top aide to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr at the request of the Iraqi government. The aide had been detained on Tuesday apparently on suspicion of involvement in sectarian violence.
In an interview with the BBC, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the violence would begin to end if neighboring Iran and Syria were involved in trying to help the Iraqi people.
American troops are conducting more aggressive patrolling in Baghdad to stamp out violence between Shi'ites and Sunnis in the city.
U.S. troops are also helping Iraqi forces patrol the northern town of Balad, where Iraqi officials say at least 93 people were killed in the past five days of sectarian violence.
Local officials said militia linked to Moqtada al-Sadr were involved in reprisal attacks after 19 Shi'ites were kidnapped and killed Friday. They say many Sunni families have fled to a nearby city to escape the violence.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.