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(photo credit: AP)
Three more American soldiers were killed in Iraq, officials said Tuesday, pushing the US military death toll to at least 2,975 - two more than the number killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The tragic milestone came with the deaths of the three soldiers Monday in two separate bomb explosions southwest of Baghdad, the military said.
The deaths - announced Tuesday - raised the number of troops killed to 2,975 since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes at least seven military civilians. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Two of the soldiers were in their vehicle when the blast went off, the military said in a statement.
"The joint patrol was conducting security operations in order to stop terrorists from placing roadside bombs in the area," it said. "As they conducted their mission, a roadside bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."
In a separate incident, another soldier was killed in an explosion while on a foot patrol in the same area, a second statement said. Three soldiers were wounded in the incidents, the military said.
On Monday, the US command announced the deaths of two other soldiers and a Marine. It said one soldier died and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a US military vehicle in southern Baghdad on Monday.
An American soldier and a Marine died Sunday from combat wounds suffered in Anbar province, the military said.
Prior to the latest deaths, the AP count was 15 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EST. At least 2,377 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
The British military has reported 126 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 18; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, six; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, one death each.
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