U.S. Death Toll In Iraq Increased During April

The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq during April rose above 100 over the weekend, making it the 6th deadliest month for U.S. forces out of the 50 months they have been in Iraq, according to the independent Web site icasualties.org.

About half of the 104 U.S. service members killed since April 1 perished in and around Baghdad where U.S. forces are involved in a major security crackdown, according to Reuters, which also reported that “the toll could increase the pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush, who is fighting a plan by Democrats to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.”

In addition to five U.S. troops killed over the weekend, The Associated Press Reported on April 30 that a suicide bomber had blown “himself up during a Shiite funeral in a volatile area north of Baghdad, the deadliest in a series of attacks that killed at least 51 people nationwide.”

“The bomber detonated his explosives about 6:30 p.m. inside a tent where mourners were gathered in Khalis, a flashpoint Shiite enclave in Diyala province, where U.S.-Iraqi forces have seen fierce fighting with Sunni and Shiite militants.”

Icasualties.org, which aggregates figures from various official sources including U.S. and British defense department press releases, Multi-National Forces press releases and Iraqi press reports, puts the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces killed during the past month at approximately 1558.

There were 1889 Iraqis killed in March, 1531 in February and 1802 killed in January, according to the Web site, which notes that because the Iraqi numbers are based on press accounts, they do not represent “a definitive count.”

“Actual totals for Iraqi deaths are higher than the numbers recorded on this site,” Icasualties.org says.

British forces suffered 12 fatalities during April making it the bloodiest stretch of days for them since 27 were killed during the war’s opening month in March 2003.

The bloodiest month for U.S. forces was November 2004, when 107 service members were killed. Recent months have seen the figure hover at about 80. The total number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 3,351, according to Icasualties.org.

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