Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Report: Battlefield casualties surging in Iraq; 244 fallen in highest first quarter ever

Above: The casket of a fallen U.S. army soldier lies in a hearse awaiting burial at a military cemetery last week.

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Two months into the troop “surge” in Iraq, the U.S. military is suffering an increase in battlefield deaths while Iraqi civilian casualties in greater Baghdad have dropped sharply.

Army officials say the reason is two-fold. Army units have intensified their efforts to defeat the insurgents. And, al-Qaida in Iraq and Iraqi guerrillas are focusing more on American targets to defeat the troop reinforcement plan, which is widely seen as the United States’ last chance to stabilize the country...

The first quarter of 2007 marked the first time that 80 or more Americans were killed in action in each of three consecutive months. April, with 35 deaths so far, is on a pace to exceed 100 deaths, which would make it one of the deadliest periods for American troops since the war began four years ago.

January, February and March combined for the deadliest first quarter, with 244 deaths compared with 148 in 2006, 200 in 2005 and 119 in 2004, according casualty counts by the Web site icasualties.org.

Read the rest at the Examiner