U.S. and Iraqi forces have encircled the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar. Up to 200 suspected insurgents - most of them foreign fighters - arrested in a sweep through a militant-held district in the northern city near the Syrian border.
The Iraqi military said 150 of those arrested were Arabs from Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan.
The joint forces have reported heavy battles on the outskirts of the city and several deadly bombings that have mainly killed civilians. Iraqi authorities reported most of the civilian population had fled the city, which is 260 miles north of Baghdad.
Eight civilians were killed in the city Wednesday by a suicide car bomber at an Iraqi checkpoint.
Tal Afar is 90 percent Turkmen and about 70 percent of them are Sunnis. After the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the United States installed a largely Shiite leadership in the city, including the mayor and much of the police force, the AP reports.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia