A grim story from the AP:
Militants killed five U.S. Marines and authorities found 21 bodies Friday near the Syrian border, where American and Iraqi troops bore down in two recent major operations aimed at crushing a tenacious insurgency.
The killings were a clear sign of the profound difficulties faced by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Anbar province around the dusty, lawless frontier town of Qaim, and their inability to seal the porous desert border with Syria despite major efforts to boost their military presence in the area.
The 21 Iraqi bodies were found near Qaim, 80 miles west of Haqlaniyah, along a highway that meanders along the Euphrates River and into Syria. The bodies were in three locations, haphazardly dumped by the roadside in a gravel pit and in sand flats. Three were beheaded and at least one had been mauled by animals.
U.S. military intelligence officials believe the Qaim area sits at the crossroads of a major route used by groups such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq to smuggle foreign fighters into the country.
"It's like the Mexican-American border there. There are attempts being made to seal it," a senior U.S. military intelligence official said on condition he remain unnamed for security reasons.