At least 44 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq in July, well below the average monthly death toll of about 64. However, the sectarian conflict is worsening: Baghdad’s morgue received 1,595 bodies in June, up 16% over May. (July figures were not available.) “American troops are no longer the primary focus of the people perpetuating the violence inside Iraq,” said a U.S. think tank expert, “they have become a secondary target.”
The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell for a third straight month in July to one of the lower levels of the 3-year-old war despite rising violence that prompted the Pentagon to expand the U.S. force.
At least 44 U.S. troops were killed in July, well below the war’s average U.S. monthly death toll of just under 64. A 132,000-strong U.S. force is battling a tenacious insurgency as sectarian violence surges, fueling concern over civil war.
There has been a steady increase in attacks since January and February to a current level of more than 120 daily against U.S. and other foreign troops, U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces and civilians, said Army Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.