Five US soldiers have been killed in central Iraq, the US military said on Monday 06/06/2011. It gave no further details but Iraqi sources said there had been a rocket attack on Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Washington officially ended combat operations in Iraq in 08/2010, leaving fewer than 50,000 US troops in Iraq, and US fatalities have been rare. The role of the US army, which is due to pull out of Iraq on 12/31/2011, is to advise and help the security forces.

The military statement simply read: “Five US service members were killed Monday in central Iraq”.

The names of the deceased are being withheld until next of kin have been informed.

Agence France-Presse news agency quoted an interior ministry official and an Iraqi police officer as saying five rockets had struck Camp Victory, but this has not been confirmed.

An independent count of US service member fatalities in Iraq now stands at 4,459. A large number of the 50,000 US troops in Iraq are due to leave in the summer.

However, during a visit in April, USA Defence Secretary Robert Gates said American troops could, if required by Iraq, stay in the country beyond the withdrawal date of the year end.

Elsewhere, at least 13 people were killed and 15 injured when a suicide bomber detonated a car in the central city of Tikrit on Monday, officials said (see also – Tikrit 03.29.11). The bomber blew up the explosives-filled sedan car at the entrance to a complex of palaces used by the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The US military has seen much-reduced casualties, although two US soldiers died when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on them in a training exercise in January (see – Mosul 01.15.11).
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