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Since 1st March, 1999
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Iraq deaths take US toll to 22

Baghdad, June 28 (Reuters): US forces in Iraq found the bodies of two missing soldiers today north of the Iraqi capital just hours after guerrilla-style attackers killed one serviceman and wounded four others in a Baghdad neighbourhood.

US central command gave no details on the circumstances of the deaths of the two soldiers, missing since Wednesday, but a senior US military official in Iraq said a spate of attacks on occupation forces indicated the war in Iraq was not over.

“Coalition forces today recovered the remains of two US Army soldiers missing since June 25. The soldiers were recovered approximately 30 km northwest of Baghdad and have been positively identified,” US central command said in a statement on its website.

At least 22 Americans have been killed by hostile fire since major combat operations ended on May 1, as occupation forces struggle to impose peace on an impoverished population emerging from decades of brutal rule by ousted former President Saddam Hussein.

The senior US military official attributed the recent attacks to die-hard loyalists of Saddam and militants linked to his outlawed Baath Party, although grenade launchers and AK-47 assault rifles are common accessories in many Iraqi homes.

“The first clear message that we have to take out of here is that this war is not over. I think that is pretty clear to all of us,” the senior officer said.

US President George W. Bush declared major combat over in Iraq on May 1, when the US enjoyed more widespread public support for toppling the dictatorship of Saddam, who had been in power since 1979.

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