– 3 MORE U.S SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRAQ
Three US soldiers were killed in action in southern Iraq, on Wednesday 06/29/2011, the military has said. The deaths make June the deadliest month for American soldiers in the country in two years. Two other US soldiers were killed two weeks ago in the same region (see – U.S 06.14.11).
The US military said they died as the result of a “hostile event” but gave few further details. However, one report said the three died when a rocket hit a USA base near the Iranian border.
An unnamed US military official quoted by the Associated Press said that the type of weapon used bore the hallmarks of a Shiaa militia with strong links to Iran. US fatalities in Iraq have been rare since Washington officially ended combat operations in the country last August, leaving about 45,000 troops.
The role of the US army, which is due to pull out of Iraq on 12/31/2011, is to advise and help the security forces.
But both US and Iraqi governments are now considering extending the deadline of troops leaving the country partly, analysts say, to counter Iran’s influence. There have been several attacks blamed on Shiaa militias aiming to force the military out.
Iran is furnishing new, more deadly weapons to Shiite Muslim militias targeting U.S. troops in Iraq as part of a pattern of renewed attempts to exert influence in the region, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who leaves office today, Thursday 06/30/2011, said (see -U.S VACUUM). About 40 percent of the deaths of American soldiers since the official end of USA combat operations almost 10 months ago have occurred in the past few weeks as a result of the attacks, Gates said yesterday in an interview at the Pentagon that also touched on Iran’s nuclear program.
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