Correction to This Article
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.
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10 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq

"Generally speaking," Garver said, "we are operating with more troops on the ground, in more areas than before -- especially in places we haven't been before -- and that creates the potential for more contact between us and the enemy that can lead to more casualties."

While the short-term risks of having so many more troops on the streets are high, Garver said, "that's going to bring more stability" in the long run. "Being out with the Iraqi forces and earning the confidence of the people will lead to better cooperation with the population and separate them from the insurgents and make sure they're on our side."

In the other deadly incident for U.S. forces Monday, two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in south Baghdad, the military reported.

According to a tally by iCasualties.org, an independent Web site that tracks U.S. military deaths, Monday's fatalities bring to 116 the number of American service members killed so far this month, making May the third-deadliest month of the war for U.S. troops. The most lethal months were November and April 2004, with 137 and 135 American fatalities respectively, when the U.S. military launched two offensives against Sunni insurgents holding the town of Fallujah, about 35 miles west of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office mobilized its crisis management task force, known as COBRA, to respond to the kidnapping of five British nationals from the Iraqi Finance Ministry shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Abdul Mareem Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said 19 vehicles sped into the Finance Ministry compound in north Baghdad as the well-planned kidnapping operation was launched. A second Interior Ministry official said the men in the vehicles were all dressed in national police uniforms.

Joe Gavaghan, a spokesman for GardaWorld, a Montreal-based security company, said in a telephone interview that four of the company's security guards and a client were abducted in the raid. A spokesman for the U.S. consulting firm BearingPoint told the British Press Association that the client was one of their employees. An official familiar with kidnapping said the BearingPoint employee was a British national. None of the officials would identify the captives by name.

Details of the kidnapping were scant.

According to news agencies, one of the victims -- apparently the BearingPoint employee -- was giving a lecture on electronic contracting in the Finance Ministry's computer science building when gunmen stormed in. The Associated Press reported that the group arrived in a long convoy of white sport-utility vehicles of the sort used frequently by Iraqi police in the capital.

The Reuters news agency, quoting a witness, said the gunmen entered the lecture hall, led by a man in a police major's uniform, yelling, "Where are the foreigners?" They then took the five British men and fled.

Kidnappings of Iraqis, usually for ransom and sometimes by sectarian death squads, occur by some estimates as often as 30 to 40 times a day across the nation. But the kidnapping of foreigners -- most often government contractors, but sometimes journalists and international aid workers -- has gone in waves. About 300 foreigners have been abducted since the start of the war, and of those, 54 were killed, 157 gained freedom and the fate of 89 is unknown, according to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index.

In recent months, however, the number of foreigners kidnapped in Iraq has dropped steeply. Only six had been kidnapped this year before Tuesday's abductions.

Also Tuesday, at least 24 people were killed and 51 were injured when a minibus exploded in Tayaran Square, a crowded commercial district in central Baghdad where Shiites frequently catch commuter buses to their jobs in Sadr City, said a senior Iraqi police official who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Later, a car bomb was detonated by remote control in the mixed Sunni Arab and Shiite neighborhood of Amil, in southeast Baghdad, killing 20 and injuring 23, the police official said.

Correspondent Kevin Sullivan in London and special correspondent Naseer Nouri in Baghdad contributed to this report.


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