Month's U.S. Toll in Iraq Hits 19

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, left, and Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange a signed agreement calling for their nations to work together to halt cross-border attacks being staged by Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, left, and Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange a signed agreement calling for their nations to work together to halt cross-border attacks being staged by Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. (By Burhan Ozbilici -- Associated Press)

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By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

BAGHDAD, Aug. 7 -- The U.S. military announced on Tuesday the deaths of three American soldiers late last week, bringing the total of U.S. deaths in Iraq in August to 19.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Iraq agreed Tuesday to work together to halt cross-border attacks being staged by Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Turkey has vowed to send its forces into northern Iraq unless Iraq's government or the United States curbs the activities of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party. The group seeks greater autonomy for the mostly Kurdish enclaves in southeastern Turkey. On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed a counterterrorism pact that forces Iraq to commit itself to tackling the rebels.

"We have reached an agreement to spend all efforts to end the presence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in Iraq," Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Maliki.

But Maliki stressed that Iraq's parliament would have the final say on any actions taken to root out the rebels.

Also Tuesday, the government of Iraq's Kurdish region approved a regional oil law that would allow foreign investment in northern oil and gas fields even as similar national legislation remained stalled, the Associated Press reported.

The measure gives the regional government the right to administer its oil wealth in Irbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dahuk provinces, as well as what it called "disputed territories," referring to Kirkuk, one of Iraq's largest crude oil hubs, the AP said. The status of the city is disputed, and Iraq's constitution mandates a referendum by the end of this year on whether Kirkuk should come under Kurdish regional administration.

The three U.S. soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb struck their convoy south of Baghdad on Saturday, the military said. A British soldier died of injuries sustained in a gunfight Monday in the southern city of Basra, British military officials said.


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