View Full Version : Surge Creates "Deadliest Quarter For U.S. Troops In Iraq Since The War Began"

06-29-2007, 06:10 PM
Deadliest three months for US troops since Iraq war began


Published: Friday June 29, 2007

Insurgents killed five US soldiers in an ambush in Baghdad as the military said it had detained dozens of suspected Al-Qaeda linked militants in raids across Iraq on Friday.

The soldiers were killed, and seven more wounded, in southern Baghdad on Thursday when their attackers detonated a roadside bomb against their patrol and then opened fire on it, the military said on Friday.

One of the wounded soldiers had returned to duty but six more were still receiving treatment, the military said.

The latest fatalities took US losses in Iraq to 82 this month alone and to 3,559 since the March 2003 invasion, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.

In May, 121 US soldiers were killed, making that month the deadliest since November 2004, when US marines stormed the former rebel town of Fallujah.

"The toll for the past three months - 329 - made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the war began in March 2003," the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile the US military said it killed three Al-Qaeda linked militants and detained dozens of other suspects in the Friday raids. One of those killed was wearing a suicide vest and was shot near Fallujah in the western Sunni Anbar province.

In the same raid, troops detained 16 suspects for their alleged ties to a "top Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader". US and Iraqi forces arrested another four people in the nearby town of Karmah, while several more suspects were seized in other operations, the military said.

Insurgents, for their part, bombed an oil pipeline south of Baghdad and set it ablaze on Friday, a local police officer told AFP.

Police Lieutenant Mohammed Hussaini said the bomb was placed under the pipeline in an area called Mowelha, near the town of Iskandiriyah, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the Iraqi capital.

"The explosion has caused a huge fire and firemen are currently battling to quell the blaze," he said.

The pipeline transports crude oil to Baghdad's Dura electricity plant and to a power station in the town of Musayyib, south of the capital, he added.

Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, meanwhile, postponed a march by his followers to the northern Sunni town of Samarra to protest at the destruction of a revered shrine there, a top aide said during Friday prayers.

Assad al-Nasiri, a Shiite imam and Sadr loyalist speaking from Sadr's pulpit in the town of Kufa, said that the government's refusal to secure the route to Samarra was one of the reasons for the postponement.

"Sayyid Sadr has decided to postpone a visit to Samarra and to hold off for several reasons, firstly because the government has gone back on its promises, including the commitment to protect the road to Samarra," he said.

Nasiri added that Sadr had received several appeals from various political leaders asking that he postpone the march through staunchly Sunni territory, which many fear could lead to sectarian violence.

The Al-Askari Shrine of Samarra, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, was bombed in February 2006 and then again on June 13. Sadr has blamed the Iraqi government for not securing the site and for failing to rebuild it.

After the first attack in which the shrine's golden dome was destroyed, a rampage of Shiite and Sunni killings broke out across Iraq, one which continues to this day and has caused tens of thousands of deaths.