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Number of Incidents in Iraq Up, Officials Say

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2003 - With new attacks in Iraq today, four soldiers have been killed in enemy attacks and two others have died there of other causes since Oct. 22, U.S. Central Command officials said. Four other soldiers were wounded.

This brings the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq since March 19 to 219. A total of 1,620 have been wounded.

Coalition officials in Baghdad said the number of incidents in the country is averaging 25 to 26 per day, with 35 as the highest single-day total. Incidents are defined as attacks, attempted attacks or thwarted attacks against coalition forces. This is up from the summer months, officials said.

The northern and southern parts of the country remain fairly calm, officials said. About 80 percent of the attacks are happening in the so-called "Baathist Triangle" of Tikrit, Baghdad and Ar Ramadi.

Officials said part of the reason incidents were up is because of increased coalition pressure on Baathist holdouts, foreign terrorists and criminal elements in the country.

In the most serious incident, two 4th Infantry Division soldiers were killed and four were wounded in a mortar attack in Samarra today. Officials in Baghdad said the incident is under investigation, but that the tactics are fairly common.

"They fire long-range weapons, because they cannot hope to win a firefight," said a Combined Joint Task Force 7 official. The official said that more than half of the attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces are done with mortars, improvised explosive devices, mines, rocket-propelled grenades or missiles.

In Mosul, a soldier from the 101st Airborne Division was killed in a firefight in the western part of the city today.

On Oct. 23, a 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed and two were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated under their vehicle south of Baqubah. Two 1st Armored Division soldiers died in two separate noncombat incidents Oct. 22.

All names are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.