US marks first month with no troop deaths in Iraq

Posted Sept. 01, 2011, at 8:36 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 02, 2011, at 11:06 a.m.

BAGHDAD — August marked the first month since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that no American forces have died, according to an Associated Press tally.

Figures compiled by the AP show that no American forces died in Iraq in August either in combat or noncombat related situations, a significant achievement in a conflict that has claimed the lives of 4,474 American service members since it began.

All American forces are supposed to leave Iraq by December of this year, but U.S. and Iraqi officials have been discussing whether to have a long-term American military presence in the country.

There have been previous months during which there were no combat related deaths, but during which some people died in noncombat-related situations.

The numbers come on top of what had been a jump in U.S. troop deaths for the first part of this year. In June, 15 U.S. troops died in one of the biggest losses of life for American forces in Iraq in years.

All but one of those deaths were combat related, and most came in southern Iraq, indicating the increased activity of Shiite militias in launching attacks against American forces.

Bases across southern Iraq have seen a deadly jump in rocket and mortar attacks, including the use of IRAMs, or improvised rocket assisted mortars, which are deadly short-range munitions that can be launched from the back of a truck. American forces traveling on roads around the country have encountered an increased number of armor-piercing explosives known as EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators.

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