US Troop Deaths in Iraq at Wartime Low
By VOA News
01 June 2008
U.S. military deaths in Iraq plunged in June to the lowest monthly total since the war began, while Iraqi military and civilian casualties also fell sharply.
The U.S. military said Sunday that 19 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq last month, the lowest number since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
The toll for June is one fewer than the previous monthly low for U.S. military deaths - 20 - set in February of 2004. Nearly 4,100 U.S. military deaths have occurred since the war began.
The Iraqi health and defense ministries say their figures for June show about 550 Iraqi civilians and security force members were killed last month, down from more than 1,000 in April.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has opened a new French diplomatic office in the northern Iraq city of Irbil.
Kouchner arrived in Iraq Saturday for two days of talks with Iraqi officials.
French officials say the visit is part of France's effort to reengage Iraq and offer help in the rebuilding process.
Also Sunday, Australia ended combat operations in Iraq, pulling its 500 soldiers from the south of the country. The removal fulfills an election promise by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to bring the soldiers home this year.
A close U.S. ally, Australia was one of the first countries to commit troops to the Iraq war. U.S. forces are to replace the Australian troops.
In other developments today, Iraqi police say a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad near the Iranian Embassy killing at least two people and wounding five. The wounded included three embassy guards.
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