Six more American soldiers were killed in Iraq, officials said Tuesday, pushing the U.S. military death toll to at least 2,978 - five more than the number killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The tragic milestone was reached with the deaths of six soldiers Monday and Tuesday in bombings and other violence in the war-torn country.
Tuesday, a bomb killed three American soldiers and wounded one northwest of Baghdad, according to the military.
"The patrol was conducting a route clearance mission when a roadside bomb exploded near them," the military said.
Two of the soldiers killed Monday were in their vehicle when a roadside bomb went off southwest of Baghdad, the military said.
"The joint patrol was conducting security operations in order to stop terrorists from placing roadside bombs in the area," it said in a statement on the latest deaths. "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.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Opponents of President Bush have criticized him for raising the attacks as a justification for the protracted fight in Iraq.
On Monday, the U.S. 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 U.S. military vehicle in southern Baghdad on Monday. An American soldier and a Marine died Sunday from combat wounds suffered in Anbar province.
Prior to the deaths announced Tuesday, 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.
In other developments: