"Two marines assigned to First Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in action and one marine died of wounds received in action on Monday in the al-Anbar province while conducting security and stability operations," the military said in a statement on Tuesday.

  

The marines have now lost 10 men in just over one week on various operations around al-Anbar province in Falluja from where US officials suspect alleged al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his supporters are operating.

 

Air raids

  

US-led military forces have carried out several air raids on what they say are al-Zarqawi safe houses in Falluja, including their second major strike on Monday since the transfer of authority to an Iraqi government two days earlier.

 

The latest death raised to at least 640 the number of US soldiers killed in action in Iraq since last year's US-led invasion.