May Iraq Death Toll Lowest in 4 Years

By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2008 8:05 AM CDT
The "troop surges" that entered Iraq to help broker peace should be home by July, U.S. officials say.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The death toll in Iraq plunged in May, with 21 US military dead the lowest monthly figure in more than 4 years. Iraqi civilians and troopers also saw a decline, with 532 deaths in May, compared with 1,080 the month before. But in the absence of lasting political agreements, many fear this signals a breathing spell in violence rather than the start of a longer trend.

Despite a May 11 truce that staunched weeks of bloody fighting in Baghdad, tensions remain high, the AP reports. Earlier this week, talks broke down again over returning Sunnis to the government. Still, Iraqi troops have taken the lead in three recent offensives against al-Qaeda and by July all five of the U.S. “surge brigades” rushed to Iraq should be back home, officials say.