The suicide car bomb and ensuing small arms fire attack killed at least two Marines, including one woman, and four others were missing and presumed dead (Duty Status "Whereabouts Unknown"), the U.S military said, cited by Associated Press. Thirteen other troops were wounded, including 11 women.
The ambush late Thursday also suggested that Iraqi insurgents may have regained a foothold in Fallujah, which has been occupied by U.S. and pro-American Iraqi forces since they wrested control of the restive city from insurgents seven months ago.
The terror group al-Qaida in Iraq on Friday claimed it carried out the ambush, one of the single deadliest attacks against the Marines - and against women - in this country. Thirty-six female troops have died since the war began, including the one that was announced Friday
The attack, which raised the death toll among U.S. military members since the beginning of the war to 1,731, came as Americans have grown increasingly concerned about a conflict that has shown no signs of abating.
The attack came on top of a series of similarly devastating bombing attacks on marines in Anbar Province, west of Baghdad in recent weeks, including two in the past month in which five or more marines died in each. At least 17 marines have been killed in the province in the past 10 days alone, and several hundred since the American-led invasion two years ago.
A British publication, the Lancet, estimated that about 100,000 civilians had died in Iraq, over half of them women and children, since the beginning of the U.S.-led invasion.