bombs kill 5 US soldiers in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed in two separate roadside bomb attacks in Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said, making 2007 the deadliest year for U.S. forces in the country.
The deaths took the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this year to 851, according to icasualties.org, an independent Web site that monitors U.S. troop deaths.
The worst previous year was 2004, when 849 deaths were recorded.
In total, 3,854 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"We lost five soldiers yesterday in two unfortunate incidents, both involving IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)," U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Greg Smith told reporters in Baghdad on Tuesday.
He gave no details of the attacks.
U.S. forces in Iraq, however, say that a major build-up of troops since February has helped stem sectarian violence and reduced the number of insurgent attacks on coalition forces.
Lieutenant-General Raymond Odierno, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, told a Pentagon briefing last week that there had been a five-month decline in combat deaths.
Odierno said insurgent attacks had been on a steady downward trend since June, with roadside bomb blasts in particular sharply down in the last four months.