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Roadside bomb targets US patrol in Iraq

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) March 12, 2011
A roadside bomb targeted a US patrol in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf on Saturday, according to an Iraqi security official and the American military.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

"An improvised bomb targetted a US patrol in Najaf around noon today," an Iraqi security official told AFP, without giving further details.

The US military said: "We can confirm that there was an IED (improvised explosive device) attack targeting US forces in Najaf. We have no reporting of casualties at this time."

Two US soldiers were killed in a January 3 attack in central Iraq, in what were the first American casualties of this year.

Those deaths raised to 4,432 the number of American soldiers who have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, according to an AFP tally based on data from independent website

According to the website, 60 members of the US military were killed in Iraq in 2010 -- by far the smallest number since 2003.

Some 50,000 US troops remain in the country, but a security accord between Baghdad and Washington requires that they be withdrawn by the end of 2011.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was approved for a second term by parliament on December 21 along with a national unity cabinet after over nine months of political deadlock, has named security as one of his top priorities.

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