US military officials have reported that two more US soldiers were slain today in northern Iraq, killed while conducting “operations” in the area. The exact details of the deaths have yet to be made available.
The two bring the overall June 2011 toll to 11, making it tied for the deadliest month since June 2009, in which 15 soldiers were slain. The increase in deaths reflects growing violence across Iraq, with growing numbers of Iraq’s own security forces also being slain.
Overall there are slightly less than 50,000 troops in Iraq currently, mostly operating in the north. They are scheduled to leave the country under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in December.
The disputes over the SOFA could lead to another dramatic upswing in the death toll next year as well, as US officials have expressed a preference to remain in the country beyond their promised date of departure. Top Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has threatened to renew military hostilities against the US if they ignore the deadline.
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