Bomb kills US soldier south of Baghdad; Pentagon: Number of dead troops increased during January
An American soldier was killed and a second was injured Tuesday when a roadside bomb went off during an operation to clear such weapons, the U.S. military declared. The blast took place near Iskandariyah, some 50 kilometers south Baghdad, the statement added.
Meanwhile, analysis of January data indicates that American soldiers are dying at a rate of more than one a day in Iraq, despite some commanders' recent claims to "have broken the back" of resistance.
According to The AP, the toll in January was 45 - five more than in December - despite US hopes that deposed President Saddam Hussein's capture would reduce the killings from roadside bombs and other attacks.
The number of deaths in January will rise to 47 when the Pentagon changes the status of two soldiers who are missing and believed to have died in the Tigris River on Jan. 25. That would make the second highest monthly total since last April when daily combat from the U.S.-led invasion was under way.
All told, 528 U.S. soldiers have died in the war. The worst month was November, when 82 died. In October there were 43, September had 30, August 35.
Of 39 deaths in January that the Army attributed to "hostile action," 23 involved attacks with homemade bombs, which the military calls "improvised explosive devices," and which have been the resistanc's weapon of choice, according to a review of Pentagon casualty reports.
The US Army has put great emphasis on defeating the threat from homemade bombs, often detonated along roadways used by military convoys.
To counter this threat, more soldiers are using Humvee utility vehicles with extra armor, and troops are wearing an improved version of body armor that provides more protection against bomb shrapnel. (Albawaba.com)
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