Earlier versions of this story, including in Wednesday's print edition of The Washington Post, incorrectly stated the number of U.S. troops who, according to the website iCasualties.org, were killed in Iraq between May 1 and May 28. The number is 116, not 117, according to the website.
10 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
BAGHDAD, May 29 -- The U.S. military announced Tuesday that 10 American soldiers were killed in Iraq on Memorial Day, making May the deadliest month for U.S. troops in 2 1/2 years, as insurgents continued attacks on government and civilian targets.
Gunmen dressed in police uniforms staged a well-coordinated kidnapping at Iraq's Finance Ministry and abducted five Britons. Two vehicle bombings in Baghdad killed at least 44 people and injured 74. And the bodies of 32 men -- all shot and tortured, some handcuffed and blindfolded -- were found in two locations north and south of the capital on Tuesday, a senior Iraqi security official said.
U.S. officials have warned that the strategy of putting more American troops on the streets and in small combat outposts, part of a security plan launched in February, would lead to higher U.S. casualties. But Tuesday's carnage suggested that the effort had not created a safer security environment.
Also, the complex operations launched against U.S. and allied forces Monday and Tuesday demonstrated that the insurgency here also is adopting more sophisticated tactics and weapons.
Eight of the U.S. fatalities Monday occurred when a U.S. helicopter crashed in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers; insurgents then ambushed a rapid response team that was arriving to rescue the troops, killing six other soldiers with a series of roadside bombs, said Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, a military spokesman.
"They are an adaptive, difficult enemy with an ability to change tactics to adapt to what's happening on the ground," Garver said. Similar ambush tactics were used in a kidnapping on May 12, he said, when insurgents attacked a U.S. patrol, killing four soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter. The attackers then were able to escape with three captive U.S. soldiers, as quick reaction teams encountered multiple roadside bombs that delayed them getting to the scene. One of the abducted soldiers was later found dead. Two are still missing.
In the case of the helicopter crash, Garver said, it was unclear whether the roadside bombs were there beforehand or were put in place after the helicopter went down. He said the cause of the crash was under investigation.
Provincial police Capt. Muhannad al-Bawi said the copter was shot down near Muqdadiyah, about 50 miles northeast of the capital. A spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni insurgent group with ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq, asserted responsibility for the downing in a telephone interview.
In recent months, Diyala has become one of Iraq's most restive provinces, as al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters have expanded their operations there. About 3,000 U.S. troops were sent to Diyala as part of the recent buildup to help quell the violence.
Most of the nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops being sent to Iraq are to be stationed in high-visibility posts in and around Baghdad. U.S. officials hope this will heighten a sense of security and lower the rate of violence, although they say the buildup needs more time before its success can be judged.
President Bush cited the higher-risk approach during a news conference last week, saying, "We're going to expect heavy fighting in the weeks and months [ahead]. We can expect more American and Iraqi casualties."
"It could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August," he added.