Two US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, the US military said on Sunday, pushing May to the brink of becoming the deadliest month for US forces this year.
A total of 103 US soldiers have been killed so far in May, one fewer than in April, which so far was the worst month this year for US military deaths.
The US military has said it anticipated it would suffer more casualties as it pours thousands of extra troops onto the streets of Baghdad and other areas as part of a security crackdown which began in mid-February.
The latest two deaths on Saturday pushed to 3,454 the total number of US troops killed since the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein began in March 2003.
One was killed by a roadside bomb in western Baghdad, while the other was killed by a bomb in volatile Diyala province north of the capital, scene of some of the worst recent violence between majority Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs dominant under Saddam.
Increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs are by far the biggest killers of US troops in Iraq.
The worst months for US soldiers since the invasion were November 2004 and April 2004, when 137 and 135 soldiers were killed respectively.
Estimates for the number of Iraqi security forces killed since 2003 vary between 4,900 and about 6,380. The number of Iraqi civilians killed is estimated at between 64,333 and 70,471, according to www.iraqbodycount.net.
US President George W Bush warned last week that a bloody summer lay ahead.
He said insurgents and Sunni Islamist al Qaeda would likely increase attacks before General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, hands him a progress report on Iraq in September.