Military deaths in Iraq pass 1,000

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – U.S. warplanes hammered suspected militant strongholds in Fallujah on Wednesday after a suicide bombing there and a series of attacks in Baghdad pushed the number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq campaign past 1,000.

Sporadic explosions lit the sky throughout the night and several buildings were razed to the ground. A thick plume of smoke rose from the western city after American jets struck a suspected militant stronghold used to plan attacks on American forces, the military said.

Hospital officials said at least six people were killed and 11 wounded since the strikes began late Tuesday.

Residents huddled in their homes as planes repeatedly swooped over eastern and southern neighborhoods of Fallujah, a hotbed of Sunni insurgents, witnesses said.

In eastern Baghdad, insurgents detonated a roadside bomb early Wednesday that killed one U.S. solider and wounded two others, the military said. The wounded were evacuated to a combat hospital after the attack at 5:30 a.m. local time.

In other violence Wednesday, gunmen kidnapped the Anbar province’s deputy governor Wednesday in the latest assault on officials connected to Iraq’s interim government, the Interior Ministry said.

Wednesday’s airstrikes targeted a militant “command and control headquarters that has recently been coordinating attacks” against coalition forces, the military said.

Late Tuesday, U.S. jets dropped several bombs and tank and artillery units fired rounds into the city in retaliation for militant attacks on Marine positions outside the city, said Marine spokesman Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson.