Aljazeera has learnt that armed men attacked a US convoy in the centre of the city of Ramadia, west of Baghdad, on Wednesday. US forces responded with heavy gunfire.

"Ten people were killed and six wounded this morning in clashes in Ramadi," said a Health Ministry official in charge of collecting casualty tolls from hospitals nationwide.

Confirmation

A US military spokesman in the area confirmed fresh clashes took place early on Wednesday.

"At approximately 7:30 am (0330 GMT) this morning, marine units operating in the Ramadi area were targeted by the AIF [Anti-Iraqi Forces - recently introduced US terminology for anti-US fighters] with approximately 13 rounds of indirect fire," Lieutenant Lyle Gilbert said.

At least 1018 US soldiers have
been killed since start of war

"No marines were injured. The marines responded to this unprovoked attack with artillery fire. At this time there is no estimate of the effects of the artillery," he added.

But one marine was killed in the province of al-Anbar, west of Baghdad on Tuesday. According to US military officials, the marine was killed in action during an operation on Tuesday.

At least 1018 US soldiers have been killed since the start of the war.

Baghdad blast

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded on Wednesday in the Iraqi town of Suwayra, south of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 10, the Interior Ministry said.

The Iraqi police have been a
 recurrent target of attacks

The attack follows a huge car bomb blast in Baghdad on Tuesday that killed at least 47 people.

The ministry said the car bomb targeted an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint. Iraqi police and security forces have frequently been the target of attacks.

Builders killed

Two Iraqi builders employed by the US military were shot dead by armed men not far from the country's northern oil capital of Kirkuk, police said on Wednesday.

  

The men were driving through the Rahim area south of Kirkuk, when they were ambushed and killed, said police commander Salam Abd al-Kader.

  

Both were employed on a US military base near Baquba, north of Baghdad.