Friday, May 1, 2009
April was the deadliest month so far this year for American forces in Iraq.
At least 18 service personnel were killed during April, including two Marines and a Navy sailor killed yesterday in fighting in Anbar province.
April also saw the most troops killed in combat so far this year, as opposed to other causes. Thirteen of last month's 18 deaths were in combat, compared with four among the nine deaths reported in March.
The deaths come as a series of deadly bombings in recent weeks has raised concerns that insurgents are stepping up efforts to re-ignite sectarian bloodshed and derail security gains.
Tensions have also been rising in northern Iraq, after a pre-dawn raid today killed two brothers in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Local authorities blame the U.S. military and are demanding an apology. But the U.S. military says the raid was spearheaded by Iraqi forces.