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US death toll in Iraq now at 3,500

Press TV | June 8, 2007

3,500 GIs have been killed in Iraq since US-led alliance invaded the country for its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

On Thursday a US soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad and another British soldier was also shot to death in southern Iraq, as Western forces find themselves increasingly vulnerable under a new strategy to take the fight to the enemy.

The mounting U.S. casualties, most by makeshift bombs placed in potholes on roads or in fields where troops conduct foot patrols, come as American troops work with Iraqi forces on the streets and in remote outposts as part of a joint crackdown on sectarian violence.

A U.S. soldier was killed and two others were wounded Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded during combat operations in a southwestern section of Baghdad, the military said Thursday. At least 3,501 U.S. service-members have been killed since the beginning of the war, according to an Associated Press count.

They include at least 23 American deaths during the first six days of June - an average of almost four per day, a similar pace to that in May. American troops deaths reached 127 in May, making it the third-deadliest month since the war started in March 2003. The average is nearly double the roughly two a day killed in June 2006.

A British soldier also was shot to death and three others were wounded Thursday while on patrol in southern Iraq, according to Britain's Ministry of Defense, pushing to at least 150 the number of deaths reported by the British military.

Bombings, shootings, mortar attacks and execution-style killings left at least 63 Iraqis dead nationwide on Thursday. They included 32 unidentified men who were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot to death in Baghdad.

The day's deadliest attack was a simultaneous suicide bombing of a bus and a truck in the town of Rabia, near the Syrian border.

The truck exploded at a police station, killing at least five policemen and five civilians and wounding 22 other people, including 14 policemen, according to army Capt. Mohammed Ahmed.

A guard shot the driver as he approached the building, but the truck still penetrated its blast walls and exploded, destroying the one-story structure, said Ahmed, an officer with the army's Third Division, which oversees the area.

Another bomber driving a minibus struck a building about 500 yards away at the same time, according to police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution. They said five Britons working in the building were wounded. British officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that report.

In Baghdad, a bomb beneath a parked car exploded at lunchtime outside a falafel restaurant, killing at least seven people and wounding 14, police reported.

Iraqi journalist Sahar al-Haidari, 45, was shot to death while she was waiting for a taxi Thursday in a predominantly Sunni area in the northern city of Mosul. Al-Haidari covered political and cultural news for the independent Voices of Iraq news agency and was the second employee of the organization to be killed in little more than a week.

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