The U.S. military says five American troops have been killed in Iraq, raising the death toll among U.S. forces to its highest monthly level in a year.
At least 96 U.S. troops have died this month, equaling the level from last October.
The military says four U.S. Marines and a sailor were killed Wednesday, as coalition forces continued an offensive aimed at returning the western Anbar city of Ramadi to Iraqi control.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Iraqi leaders have not agreed to develop a comprehensive plan by the end of the year for progress in the country. In a news conference at the Pentagon, he said critics should -- in his words -- "just back off" on demands for deadlines in Iraq.
On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Iraqi leaders agreed to a timeline aimed at curbing violence in the country. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected Khalilzad's announcement and said his government has not agreed to anything.
In other news, Iraqi police say at least 12 policemen died in gunbattles with militants in the city of Baqouba north of Baghdad. Several dozen people were wounded in the fighting.