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US deaths in Iraq touch 4,000

world Updated: Mar 25, 2008 00:10 IST

The death toll of US military in Iraq has hit 4,000 after the military announced on Monday the deaths of four soldiers, according to an AFP tally based on independent website www.icasualties.org.

The four soldiers were killed on Sunday in a road bomb attack during a patrol in southern Baghdad, the military said, taking the overall losses of the military in Iraq to 4,000.

Another soldier was wounded in the attack, the military said.

The chaotic and brutal conflict which is now in its sixth year has also left more than 29,000 US soldiers wounded, according to the website.

The bulk of the deaths, at least 97 per cent, occurred after US President George W. Bush announced the end of “major combat” in Iraq on May 1, 2003, as the American military became caught between raging anti-American insurgency and brutal sectarian strife unleashed since the toppling of Saddam.

Despite the losses, Bush on the eve of the war’s fifth anniversary defended his decision to invade Iraq, vowing no retreat as he promised American soldiers would triumph despite the “high cost in lives and treasure”.

According to icasualties.org, 81.3 per cent of the soldiers killed have died in attacks by the Al Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni insurgent groups loyal to Saddam and radical Shia militias. The remainder died in non-combat related incidents.

Roadside bombs caused most of the casualties, with small-arms fire the second biggest killer.

Around 40 per cent of those killed were struck by roadside bombs, according to the website, making these weapons the main cause of fatalities. Others died variously in car bombings, small-arms fire, helicopter crashes, ambushes, rocket attacks and suicide bombings.