U.S. Death Toll in Iraq War Hits 4,000

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The U.S. military said a roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, bringing the American death toll of the Iraq war to at least 4,000, according to The Associated Press.

Last year, the U.S. military deaths rose as U.S. troops fought for the control of Baghdad and surrounding areas.

The year 2007 ended as the deadliest one for American troops at 901 deaths. That was 51 more deaths than 2004, the second deadliest year for the U.S. military

The 4,000 figure is an Associated Press count that includes eight civilians who worked for the Department of Defense.

The bloody milestone came on the same day that at least 61 people were killed across the Iraqi democracy.

Rockets and mortars struck the U.S.-protected Green Zone. The attacked showed the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups even though violence throughout the country has diminished in recent months.

Killed on Patrol

The soldiers with Multi-National Division-Baghdad were on a patrol when their vehicle was struck at about 10 p.m. in southern Baghdad, the military said. Another soldier was also wounded in the attack.

Identities of those killed were withheld pending notification of relatives.

Navy Lt. Patrick Evans, a military spokesman, expressed condolences to all the families who have lost a loved one in Iraq, saying each death is "equally tragic."

"There have been some significant gains. However, this enemy is resilient and will not give up, nor will we," he said. "There's still a lot of work to be done."

The deadliest attack of the day was in Mosul when a suicide driver slammed his vehicle through a security checkpoint in a hail of gunfire and detonated his explosives in front of an Iraqi headquarters building, killing 13 Iraqi soldiers and injuring 42 other people, police said.

Iraqi guards opened fire on the vehicle but couldn't stop it because the windshield had been bulletproofed, said an Iraqi army officer. He spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because he was not supposed to release the information.

Mosul is Iraq's third largest city and is located about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. It has been described as the last major urban area where members of the Sunni extremist al-Qaeda group remain at-large.

"Duck and Cover"

Rockets and mortars began slamming into Baghdad's Green Zone about dawn. Other attacks came throughout the day, resulting in columns of smoke and dust that rose over the heavily guarded district.

A U.S. public address system in the Green Zone warned people to "duck and cover" and to stay away from windows.

At least five people were injured in the Green Zone, a U.S. Embassy statement said without specifying nationalities. The zone includes the U.S. and British embassies as well as major Iraqi government offices.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to release the information, said those injured included an American and four third-country nationals, meaning they were not American, British or Iraqi.

No group claimed responsibility for the Green Zone attacks, but Shiite extremists were suspected based on the direction from which the weapons were fired.

The attacks followed a series of clashes last week between U.S. and Iraqi forces and factions of the Mahdi Army, the biggest Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iraqi police said 10 civilians were killed and more than 20 were injured in rocket or mortar blasts in scattered areas of eastern Baghdad - some of them probably due to misfired rounds.

Seven Killed in Suicide Bombing

Also in the capital, seven people were killed and 14 wounded in a suicide car bombing Sunday in the Shiite area of Shula in the capital, police reported. Such attacks are the hallmark of Sunni religious extremists.

Gunmen opened fire on passengers waiting for buses in a predominantly Shiite area in southeastern Baghdad, killing at least seven men and wounding 16 people, including women and children, according to police.

Source: The Associated Press

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