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U.S. military: Militants kill 2 U.S. soldiers in Iraq


BAGHDAD >> Two American soldiers were killed in a rocket attack that struck their unit in southern Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday.

Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, confirmed that rockets hit the troops’ unit but declined to give their names or say where in southern Iraq, pending notification of next of kin.

About 47,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, down from 166,000 in October 2007 at the peak of the military surge that kept the country from dissolving into civil war.

But Shiite militias in Iraq’s south that are linked to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have vowed to continue targeting U.S. troops until all have left.

Under a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington, all U.S. forces will withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year. In an Associated Press interview Saturday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he sees no need to change the agreement but said he would leave that decision to parliament if lawmakers vote to keep them.

Saturday’s deaths raises to at least 4,443 the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. That’s according to an Associated Press count.

The last attack to leave more than one U.S. service member dead was Jan. 15, when an Iraqi army solider opened fire on U.S. troops and killed two during a training exercise in Mosul, located 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad.

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