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First fatality-free month for US military in Iraq
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Sept 1, 2011

For the first time since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, a month passed without a single American military fatality here, a US military spokeswoman said on Thursday.

But Iraqi government figures released on Thursday showed that 239 Iraqis were killed in August, down 20 from July, making it the fourth-deadliest month of 2011 so far.

For US soldiers, "August was the first month with no hostile deaths and no non-combat deaths, which includes accidents or illness," Major Angela Funaro told AFP in an emailed response to questions.

"However, there were two other months on record (December 2009 and 0ctober 2010) when the USF-I (United States Forces-Iraq) had no hostile deaths but at least one non-combat-related death," she added.

The record low death toll for August comes with just months to go before a year-end deadline for all US troops to withdraw from Iraq, unless Baghdad and Washington reach an accord on a post-2011 military training mission.

The previous low for a month was in December 2010, when one soldier died, according to figures from the independent website www.icasualties.org.

A total of 4,474 American service personnel have died in Iraq since the invasion that ousted now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein, according to the website.

While no US soldiers died in Iraq in August, Iraqis continued to be killed in attacks.

Figures compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence showed that a total of 239 people -- 155 civilians, 45 police and 39 soldiers -- died as a result of attacks in August.

According to figures from the ministries, 259 Iraqis -- 159 civilians, 56 policemen and 44 soldiers -- died as a result of attacks in July.

A total of 1,860 Iraqis have been killed in attacks this year, according to an AFP tally based on Iraqi government figures.

Violence is down across Iraq from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, with several major attacks taking place last month.

Iraqi security officials said that at least 28 people, including a lawmaker, were killed in a suicide blast at Baghdad's biggest Sunni mosque on Sunday.

And attacks in more than a dozen cities killed 74 people nationwide on August 15, including 40 in twin blasts blamed on Al-Qaeda in the southern city of Kut.

Some 47,000 US soldiers are still stationed in Iraq, charged primarily with helping train and equip their domestic counterparts, though they also conduct joint counter-terror missions.

All of them must pull out by the end of the year, under the terms of a 2008 security pact, but Iraqi politicians announced on August 3 that they would open talks with Washington over a military training mission to last beyond 2011.

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14 prisoners escape north Iraq prison: police
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) Sept 1, 2011 - Fourteen prisoners charged with "terrorism" escaped from a prison in the north Iraq city of Mosul on Thursday, a police officer said, in the latest jailbreak in Iraq.

"Thirty-five prisoners tried to escape from a prison in Al-Faisaliyah" in central Mosul, said Colonel Mohammed al-Jaburi, of the Nineveh province police. Security forces "arrested 21 of them, but 14 others were able to escape from the prison," Jaburi said.

All 35 were charged with terrorism-related offences, he said, adding that an open-ended curfew was instituted in Mosul around 8:00 am (0500 GMT) on Thursday due to the jailbreak.

No clashes took place during the escape, he said.

An interior ministry official confirmed that 35 prisoners had attempted to escape in Mosul, but that 21 of them were apprehended.

Jailbreaks and prison unrest are relatively common in Iraq.

Officials said on August 6 that four prisoners and a guard were killed in clashes at a prison in the central Iraqi city of Hilla, during which eight inmates escaped.

Six Iraqi police and 11 inmates were killed in a Baghdad jail mutiny in May, while 12 suspected Al-Qaeda members escaped from prison in the southern city of Basra in mid-January. At least two of the Basra escapees have been recaptured.

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Baghdad car bomb kills three: ministry
Baghdad (AFP) Aug 31, 2011
A car bomb killed three people and wounded 20 others in Baghdad on Wednesday, and a roadside bomb elsewhere in the Iraqi capital bomb wounded two more people, an interior ministry official said. The car bomb exploded in the Jihad area of southern Baghdad at about 8:30 pm (1730 GMT), and the roadside bomb went off in the Adhamiyah district in the north of the city some 15 minutes later, he sa ... read more

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