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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

U.S. Toll in May Highest Since January

June 01, 2005|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The monthly death toll for American troops in Iraq rose in May to the highest level since January, and the U.S. military said Tuesday that insurgents had doubled their number of daily attacks since April.

At least 77 U.S. troops were killed in May, the military said. That is the highest monthly toll since 107 American troops were killed in January.

It was the second straight monthly increase. In March, 36 U.S. troops died, one of the lowest monthly tolls of the war.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said insurgents were staging about 70 attacks a day nationwide.

"There was a period of time right after the [Jan. 30] election until the beginning of April or middle of April that we actually saw them dip into the low 30s," he said of the daily attacks.

The latest Pentagon figures list 1,658 U.S. military deaths since the war began in March 2003, with 12,630 more wounded in combat.

Insurgents have aggressively targeted Iraqi security forces and civilians as well. Boylan said more than 600 Iraqis had been killed or wounded in May.

Several factors were responsible for the higher number of U.S. deaths last month, he said.

May was a record month for car bombings, Boylan said, and U.S. forces suffered losses in several offensives, including in the western towns of Haditha and Qaim.

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