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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    7 More U.S. Deaths in Iraq End a Lethal Month

    7 More U.S. Deaths in Iraq End a Lethal Month

    BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 31 - The military announced the deaths of seven American soldiers and marines near Baghdad on Monday, making October the fourth deadliest month for troops here since the war began.

    Also on Monday, at least 13 people were killed and 55 wounded when a car packed with explosives detonated near a restaurant in the southern city of Basra, the spokesman for the Basra police department said.

    The Americans were killed in three separate roadside bomb attacks in two days, the military said in a statement. Four soldiers were killed Monday when their vehicle hit a bomb in Yusifiya, about 10 miles south of Baghdad. Two more died in a similar fashion near Balad, 50 miles north of the capital. On Sunday, a marine was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Amiriya, southwest of Baghdad.

    The attacks brought the number of Americans killed in October to 92, the highest monthly toll since January, when 106 American troops were killed in violence ahead of national elections here.

    This month's death toll and January's have been surpassed only twice since the war began: in November 2004, when Americans battled Sunni Arab rebels in Falluja, and in April 2004, when they fought militiamen loyal to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr in Najaf.

    The bomb in Basra on Monday tore through the Jandul restaurant on Al Jazaer Street in the center of the city at 8:30 p.m., said the police spokesman, Karim al-Zaidy. The bomber stopped his explosive-laden car behind a police cruiser that was parked in front of the restaurant and then walked away before the vehicle exploded, Mr. Zaidy said. At least four of those killed were police officers.

    The bomb sprayed shrapnel across a wide area in the busy commercial district. At least 10 shops were completely destroyed, Mr. Zaidy said. In the restaurant, customers were eating their first meal after a daytime fast for Ramadan.

    The attack was the worst in Basra, Iraq's second largest city, since early September, when a taxi exploded and killed 16 people, also outside a restaurant.

    It was not immediately clear who was responsible. While Sunni Arab militants have repeatedly struck at Shiite civilians, there has been fighting within the Shiite population as well, with feuding militias locked in struggles for power that have turned violent several times in recent months.

    In Baghdad, military officials released few details about the American deaths, saying only that roadside bombs had caused all of them. Such bombs are now the leading cause of death for American troops here as insurgents have grown increasingly skilled at building them.

    Some of the blasts have penetrated armored troop carriers, as one did in August in the western town of Haditha, when 14 marines were killed by an explosive device weighing 500 pounds - the size of a large plane-dropped bomb.

    Lawrence Di Rita, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters in Washington on Monday that insurgents were continuing to develop more sophisticated bombs but that American forces had improved in countering the attacks.

    "We are seeing more powerful capabilities," he said, "but we're getting better at interrupting the enemy's decision cycle, and getting better intelligence that is allowing us to stop more of these things, find more of them."

    The attacks came as American forces struck at insurgents in western Iraq, near the border with Syria, a common entry point for foreign militants. Before dawn on Monday, marines backed by attack jets struck at insurgents there, destroying two houses that the military thought were used by foreign terrorists, The Associated Press reported.

    The military gave no figures for civilian casualties, but The A.P. reported that video from the scene showed residents crying over the bodies of about six people. Other news outlets, including Reuters, reported that 40 civilians had been killed, though they relied on an account from a hospital in Qaim that is friendly to insurgents and has been known to overstate casualties.

    The military said it had killed an operative of Al Qaeda, a Saudi citizen known locally as Abu Saud. He has been bringing foreign fighters into Iraq and arrived most recently to build up the Qaeda leadership, the military said.

    The military has conducted at least 10 operations in western Anbar Province this year, and commanders here argue that the fighting has kept up pressure on militants and helped to reduce the number of suicide bombings in Baghdad, which are down from the spring.

    Still, attacks have risen gradually over all, despite political milestones that American officials had hoped would ease the violence, like the elections. In February and March of last year, the American military counted fewer than 200 attacks a week on average. In the first week of this month, there were 723 attacks.

    Iraqi casualties have also risen, with 63 Iraqis killed and wounded in insurgent attacks every day in early September, up from 26 a day in March of last year, according to the military.

    Qais Mizher contributed reporting from Baghdad for this article, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: 7 More U.S. Deaths in Iraq End a Lethal Month

    So true, two of our fellow reservist from here (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) had paid the price for a war that probably does not make sense fighting for or does make sense, but for what? Oil? the Iraqi people? Freedom? and the list goes on and on. Why do we think that killing one another is the key to everything when we do not have the right to kill. It's a shame that we live in a world that is precious in essence, but distructive at times...

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