US monthly toll in Iraq at lowest since invasion
Jul 31 08:43 AM US/Eastern
Eleven US soldiers were killed in Iraq in July, the lowest monthly toll since the 2003 invasion, according Pentagon figures, highlighting what US commanders say is a marked drop in overall violence.
The number compares with the deadliest month of November 2004 when 137 American troops were slain, an independent toll by icasualties.org showed. The previous low was in May this year when 19 soldiers were killed.
Since the US-led invasion of March 2003 that toppled now executed dictator Saddam Hussein, a total of 4,125 US troops have been killed in Iraq, according to independent website icasualties.org.
The downward trend began in the middle of last year after a US troop "surge", although there were two spikes in bloodshed in March and April when fierce fighting erupted between Shiite militiamen and US-led forces.
Icasualties.org said the number of Iraqi civilian dead fell to 302 in July, the lowest since April 2005, from 373 in June while the toll among Iraqi security forces rose in July to 91 from 77.
The commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, said in an interview published two days ago that overall violence was falling to almost "normal" levels.
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