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Though Toll Slows, U.S. Deaths Go On
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 14, 2005

Since the U.S. invasion in 2003, at least 1,546 troops have died in Iraq, including at least 1,176 who died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians.

Those numbers have dropped precipitously since national elections at the end of January, but deaths are still being reported at an average of about one a day.

The Iraqi election brought the nation's Shiites and Kurds out in droves, but the minority Sunni population mainly stayed home, heightening sectarian tensions. The Sunni heartland provinces in the center of the nation - such as Anbar, Baghdad, Ninawa and Diyala - continue to be insurgency hotbeds.

As the number of Americans killed has dropped, violence targeting Iraqi security forces and civilians has increased. Militias roam neighborhoods, exacting justice with the barrel of an AK-47, often along sectarian lines.



Iraq's new government is billed as representing the nation's diversity, and it does, but it also points to the divisions that must be overcome. The prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is a Shiite whose organization has ties to theocratic Iran. The president, Jalal Talabani, is a Kurd who once fought to split the northern Kurdistan region away from Iraq, a dream still held by most Kurds. The speaker of the National Assembly, Hajem al-Hassani, is a Sunni who U.S. officials hope will be able to reach out to his disgruntled countrymen, many of whom view Hassani as just one more exile come home to grab power.

Among other foreign troops in Iraq, the British military has reported 86 deaths; Italy, 21; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 17; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, 8; Slovakia, 3; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, 2 each; and Denmark, El Salvador, Hungary, Kazakstan and Latvia, 1 death each.

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Copyright 2005 Philadelphia Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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