U.S. Killed in Iraq Exceeds 9-11 Count
Associated Press | December 26, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The number of U.S. military service members
killed in Iraq has exceeded the number of victims in the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to an Associated Press
count. Car bomb attacks, meanwhile, killed at least 25 Iraqis.
Six more American soldiers were killed in Iraq, officials said
Tuesday, pushing the U.S. military death toll since the
beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003 to at least 2,978
- five more than the number killed in the attacks in New
York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
The milestone came with the deaths of the three soldiers
Monday and three more Tuesday in roadside bomb attacks
near Baghdad, the military said.
President Bush has said that the Iraq war is part of the United
States' post-Sept. 11 approach to threats abroad. Going on
offense against enemies before they could harm Americans
meant removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan,
pursuing members of al-Qaida and seeking regime change in
Iraq, Bush has said.
Democratic leaders have said the Bush administration has
gotten the U.S. bogged down in Iraq when there was no
evidence of links to the Sept. 11 attacks, detracting from
efforts against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
The AP count of those killed includes at least seven military
civilians. Prior to the deaths announced Tuesday, the AP
count was 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally,
last updated Friday. At least 2,377 died as a result of hostile
action, according to the military's numbers.
The British military has reported 126 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine,
18; Poland, 18; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El
Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand,
two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia,
Romania, one death each.
Three car bombs killed at least 25 people and wounded 55 in a
commercial area and public transport hub in western Baghdad
on Tuesday morning, a doctor at Yarmouk hospital said on
condition of anonymity.
Separately Tuesday, two roadside bombs targeted an Iraqi
police patrol in eastern Baghdad, killing four policemen and
injuring 12 people, police said.
British soldiers were on alert for reprisals a day after they
raided a police station in the southern city of Basra, killing
seven gunmen in an effort to stop renegade Iraqi officers
from executing their prisoners.
"We fully expect more attacks on our bases and on Basra
stations, but that's nothing out of the ordinary," Maj.
Charlie Burbridge, a military spokesman, said Tuesday.
"But this is part of a long-term rehabilitation of the Iraqi
police service, to make it more effective and more
accountable, and ultimately provide better security for
the people of Basra."
After the British stormed the police station, they removed
127 prisoners, who showed evidence of torture, then
evacuated the building before blowing it up, he said.
Burbridge had previously said only 76 prisoners were in the
station, but later said soldiers miscounted the prisoners
because the operation was done under cover of darkness.
Some 800 of the British military's 7,200 troops in Iraq were
involved in the operation, he said.
A spokesman for Iraq's defense minister said Monday that
the Iraqi interior and defense ministries approved the Basra
operation, but some members of the Basra provincial council
said they were not notified.
"We object to the way the operation was conducted...
There was no need to bring in such a huge number of
forces and break down the station," council member
Hakim al-Maiyahi told The Associated Press.
Burbridge acknowledged the council members' concerns, but
said British officials had alerted the provincial governor,
Mohammed al-Waili, who approved the operation.
"He told us it was the right thing - the way forward. He
supported our activity," Burbridge said.
Al-Waili refused to comment on the matter.
Christians attended Christmas services in Baghdad and
northern Iraq, home to most of Iraq's 800,000 Christians.
Some in Baghdad stayed home on Monday, however,
Christians are on the fringes of the conflict, which mostly
involves Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs, but they have
been targeted by Islamic militants.
"I hope next year will bring good things and unite all Iraqis
because there is no difference between Christians and
Muslims," said Abu Fadi, a worshipper who does not use
his Christian name because he fears for his safety.
"May God bring relief from this."
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