Thursday, September 1, 2005
U.S. forces in Iraq suffered at least 74 combat deaths in August, more than in any month since November and the third-highest total for any month of the war, according to Pentagon figures.
It was also the highest monthly death toll outside major combat operations. The only months with heavier combat losses were April 2004 (126 killed) and November 2004 (125 killed), when U.S. forces launched full-scale assaults in the western town of Fallujah.
The American casualties in August included 14 Marines killed on Aug. 3 by a land mine blast in Anbar province in western Iraq. Roadside bombs are the biggest killers of U.S. forces, military figures show.
The United States now has about 138,000 troops in Iraq. U.S. officials say they probably will increase that temporarily to about 160,000 to provide extra security for a constitutional referendum in October and a Dec. 15 parliamentary election.