15 Police Recruits Killed in Iraq; U.S. Death Toll for October Hits 86

By John Ward Anderson and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, October 23, 2006; 9:12 AM

BAGHDAD, Oct. 23 -- At least 15 Iraqi police recruits were killed Sunday when two buses taking them to Baghdad were ambushed by insurgents north of the capital, a local police official said. Twenty-five recruits were injured in the attack, and 20 others were kidnapped, he said.

On Sunday and Monday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of seven soldiers and a Marine, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month to 86 -- the fifth-highest total in any single month since the war began. The only higher monthly tolls were 137 in November 2004, 135 in April 2004, 106 in January 2005, and 96 in October, 2005. Attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad have increased more than 40 percent since midsummer, U.S. military officials say.

Six U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday, in five separate attacks in and around Baghdad, the Defense Department said in e-mailed statements. Iraqi gunman killed two soldiers with small-arms fire west of the capital and another soldier southwest of Baghdad, the military said. Three other soldiers were killed in explosions caused by three different roadside bombs, one of which left four soldiers injured.

The Marine died Saturday from injuries sustained during fighting in Anbar province, the same day that a soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a clash in Salahuddin province, the military said.

Meanwhile, at least 10 Iraqis were killed and dozens more injured in violence in Baghdad Sunday. A U.S. military official said recently that violence in the capital had risen 22 percent this month, prompting U.S. and Iraqi officials to revisit their security plan.

The attack on the Iraqi police recruits occurred about noon near al-Muradiyah, a town north of Baghdad and south of Baqubah in the restive province of Diyala, provincial Capt. Muhannad al-Bawi said.

The Reuters news service reported that the recruits were traveling to the capital from a training base that had been attacked Saturday in an incident that was not publicly reported. It quoted a Baqubah official as saying that "many" people were killed and 80 injured in that assault.

A Post staff member in Baqubah contributed to this report.

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