US soldier killed in Iraq, the fourth this month

The latest death was the 18th casualty in six weeks.

Baghdad: An American soldier was
killed on Friday, the fourth this month, days after Defence
Secretary Leon Panetta said US troops had resumed attacks
against Iran-backed militias that were behind the killings.

"A US service member was killed while conducting
operations in southern Iraq," said a brief statement by the
American military, reporting yet another casualty in the
Shiite-majority south that is home to anti-American militias
Washington says are backed by Iran.

The statement gave no further details.

The latest death was the 18th casualty in six
weeks, after US forces suffered their deadliest month in three
years in June, losing 14 soldiers in attacks.

The last US casualty of this month was on Sunday,
coinciding with Panetta`s arrival in Baghdad, where he
expressed "tremendous concern" over Iran-supplied weapons he
said were being used to attack troops.

Panetta also disclosed that American forces had
resumed pursuing Iran-backed insurgents in Iraq, nearly a year
after the US military in Iraq announced a formal end to combat

"We have to unilaterally be able to go after those
threats. We`re doing that," Panetta said.


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