Sunday, December 31, 2006

U.S. soldier killed in Baghdad is 2,999th death

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in southeastern Baghdad on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement, becoming the 2,999th member of the U.S. military to die in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.

The soldier was also the 110th to die so far in December, the deadliest month for the U.S. forces in more than two years.

Amid rising U.S. casualties, President Bush is under pressure to present a timetable for the withdrawal of troops who his critics say are bogged down in Iraq.

Bush has spent much of the holiday period consulting his closest aides and has promised to announce a new direction in Iraq early in the new year.

The U.S. statement said the soldier, whose name was withheld, was killed when a roadside bomb hit his patrol in the southeast of the capital. Two more soldiers were wounded.

Hundreds of Iraqis are killed every week in sectarian violence which is threatening to pitch Iraq into full-scale civil war.

A toll of 3,000 U.S. dead is likely to be an emotive one for Americans but it is less than the number of Iraqi civilians killed in a typical single month in the latter part of 2006, according to the most recent statistics from the United Nations.


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