A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed Friday during a close air support mission for ground forces a rare loss in Iraq of the workhorse aircraft. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates came to Baghdad on an unannounced visit, and the U.S. military said five soldiers had died.
BAGHDAD -- Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.
As of Friday, June 15, 2007, at least 3,520 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,885 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit Friday to Iraq and expressed support for the top U.S. commander here, saying the military wasn't trying to paint an overly optimistic picture of how the war is going.
President Bush laid down an impassioned defense of his Iraq policy yesterday, saying the United States must stay in the fight despite an escalating death toll, increasing calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and growing public sentiment against the war.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad on Friday to assess a U.S. troop buildup and press Iraq's government to move faster in passing laws that Washington views as critical to reconciling Iraqis.
Five American soldiers died in Iraq, the U.S. military announced Friday, a day after extremists fired shells into Baghdad's Green Zone during a visit by the State Department's No. 2 official.
All U.S. troop reinforcements for Iraq to help restore security have now arrived, but it could take several more months before their weight is fully felt, the U.S. military said on Friday.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed early Friday morning in Iraq while supporting a ground forces operation, the Air Force reported.
All U.S. troop reinforcements heading to Iraq to help restore security have now arrived, but it could take several more months before their weight is fully felt, the U.S. military said on Friday.