An American commander says US troops have helped Iraqi forces bring a "marked decrease" to the sectarian fighting in Balad.
The US command says American forces responded to Iraqi requests for back-up in the town where more than 90 people have been killed. And a spokesman says US troops are firing back at insurgents launching mortar attacks on civilians.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Martindale also says US troops have detained two police officers suspected of being involved in the slayings of 17 Shiites that triggered the bloodletting in Balad.
Fleeing Sunnis say Shiite police in Balad teamed up with death squads to kill at least 74 Sunnis. A member of Iraq's main Shiite religious party says "painful incidents" are still occurring there.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)