April deadliest month for US in Iraq since 2009
BAGHDAD — The killing on Friday of an American soldier made April the deadliest month for US forces in Iraq since 2009, according to figures compiled by AFP.
The soldier “was killed April 29 while conducting operations in southern Iraq,” a US military statement released on Saturday said, without giving further details.
The death brought to 11 the number of US troops to die in Iraq in April, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website www.icasualties.org.
That is the highest monthly toll since November 2009, when 11 soldiers also died, starkly highlighting the risks American soldiers still face even after combat operations were officially declared over last summer.
Of the remainder of April’s 11 killed, six died in “non-hostile” incidents, two were killed by a roadside bomb in Numaniyah, Wasit province, and two died in separate mortar attacks in Baghdad and Babil provinces.
Also on Saturday, the US army’s Contingency Operating Site Echo in the southern province of Diwaniyah was hit by a rocket attack, while an American military convoy near the Shiite holy city of Najaf was targetted, Sergeant Elvis Umanzor said.
No further details were available regarding either incident.
Around 45,000 US soldiers still remain stationed in Iraq. While they are primarily charged with training and equipping their local counterparts, they can return fire in self-defence and still take part in joint counter-terror operations with Iraqi forces.
Friday’s death also brings to 4,452 the number of American troops to have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, according to the AFP tally.